When we finally brought Destroy home from the hospital, we sat him in his tiny baby bouncer and gently introduced him to the family dogs. We did the same when Search came home three days later.
Each time, our yellow lab Cooper eyed them suspiciously. “Can they throw a ball? No? Worthless puppies!”
See, Cooper was once trained as a working dog. He’s considered a “career changer.” Mostly because epilepsy is an automatic fail-out. But nevertheless, he has the drive and obsession to focus, inspect his surroundings, and most importantly FETCH THE BALL!
Today I take great pleasure watching my little fighters wrestle and play with their canine companions. Because I’m a preemie boy-mom. And I’m pretty sure my twin boys, Search and Destroy, have been tandem training for Special Forces since their initial escape from the womb.
So when I heard about former Navy SEAL Mike Ritland’s book, Trident K9 Warriors: My Tale from the Training Ground to the Battlefield with Elite Navy SEAL Canines, I immediately downloaded a copy and read it in a day.
Trident K9 Warriors details the working dogs serving our country. It discusses their selection, training and deployment – in some of the harshest conditions imaginable – as they search and destroy obstacles in the heart of heated battle zones.
“From detecting explosives to eliminating the bad guys, these powerful dogs are also some of the smartest and most highly skilled working animals on the planet.”
Each chapter tells the tale of experiences with different dogs. Each story underlines a point in the progression of military working dogs. The elite specimens who make it through the rigorous breeding, selection and training program will ultimately patrol alongside their human handlers – making warzones a bit more bearable. The dogs sniff out IEDs. They are tenacious beasts who will bite down on the bad guy (a seriously sucks to be you moment).
And, on base barracks, they offer a small respite of home. Despite the ferocity and power contained in such impressive furry weapons, dogs still have their individual goofy personalities. Beings who will readily put their lives in peril on extreme missions, as they undertake to save countless lives, asking for little in the way of reward. Such as a lengthy game of fetch.
You can also see oodles of photos at the end of the book. I do wish they included the photos throughout. Since I read an electronic version of the missive, I didn’t even realize there were pictures until a friend told me to go looking for them. (Hint, hint publisher – way too cute to be missed. I don’t care how bad ass you are – dogs in goggles and snow shoes are adorable.)
The dogs described in Ritland’s book are on the front lines everyday. They are heroes, as are their handlers. I love dogs; they make me happy.
You don’t have to be in the military to get sucked in by these stories. Are you a dog person? Are you interested in the behind-the-scenes of how things work? Does history pique your curiosity? Because this book is living history. The evolution of K9s, their impact in battle and their effect on the hearts and minds of our soldiers.
So read this book. Come to admire the awesome tenacity of the extremely elite working dogs. And then check out the Warrior Dog Foundation to help recognize their efforts and keep the program going.
Since several marines declared Search and Destroy are future paratroopers, perhaps one day they’ll be deploying with canine compatriots strapped alongside them.
And I would be proud.