Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Bonds with K-9 co-workers hard to break

Cindy Fisher / S&S Meister races to bring his toy back to his handler, Cpl. Kate Stanford, for more playtime. Everything these military working dogs do — whether training, working or playing — is fun for them, Stanford said.

Cindy Fisher / S&S Cpl. Kate Stanford, 21, from Hubbard, Ohio, plays with Meister at the Marine K-9 kennel on Kadena Air Base Wednesday. Stanford has only been Meister's handler for about five months, but already they have developed a pretty good bond, Stanford said.

Cindy Fisher / S&S Lance Cpl. Chase Paustian, 24, from Aurora, Ill., takes a few moments to rub Waldo's stomach after a training session at the Marine K-9 kennel. Paustian and Waldo recently returned from a seven-month deployment together to Anbar province, Iraq. Being there together only tightened their bond, Paustian said.

Cindy Fisher / S&S Rexo, a military working dog, lays quietly at Lance Cpl. Ariel Soto's feet after a training session. Even when these military working dogs are at rest, people should not come up and try to pat them as the dogs could misinterpret this as an attack on their handlers, dog handlers advise.
(And of course, this is Gabe, sent recently by Chuck! I had to include him in this K9 story..)

Bonds with K-9 co-workers hard to break

KADENA AIR BASE, Okinawa — When Cpl. Kate Stanford arrived on Okinawa five months ago, she was assigned to Meister, a 5-year-old military working dog.

She immediately began building a bond with him.

"He kind of looked like, ‘Who are you? Where is my daddy?’ " Stanford, 21, from Hubbard, Ohio, recalled of their first meeting at the Marine Provost Marshal’s Office K-9 kennel on Kadena Air Base.

Fortunately, the German shepherd is carefree, and it’s been "easy to build rapport with him," she said. It also helped that his last handler was still on Okinawa and talked with her about Meister’s personality and quirks — such as a penchant for nipping at his handler’s ankles.

But it’s not always so easy for dogs when they change handlers or their handler goes on leave. Some even sink into depression.

All the new handler can do, Stanford said, is train and play with the dog. It’s time well spent because it creates trust in their own as well as their dog’s capabilities, she said....

This is a very interesting story, with insights. Go to Stars and Stripes, here, to read the rest.

No comments: