War Dogs

Several years ago I was touched so deeply in a way I never expected to be touched. I remember being on vacation in Branson Mo, where there are so many forms of entertainment around you, so many things to do for enjoyment. In spite of all the avenues of entertainment there, due to a back problem, I lay in a motel room watching a television special…”War Dogs”.

One story on this show chronicled how a United States Army dog handler was placed with his new partner…a German Shepherd. If I remember correctly, he had no choice in his partner, the dog was assigned to him. The handler was very apprehensive about the dog, since during the training of the dogs, his new German Shepherd partner had gained a reputation for being somewhat mean and aggressive. The dog handler and the dog trained together for a time, then were sent to their duty station.

The handler was a point man on a recon team. As the handler and his newly appointed partner took the lead in their first recon mission together, the dog stopped dead in his tracks. The handler then inspected the area to the front of the shepherd, and could not see anything amiss. No booby traps, no apparent cause for halting the movement of the squad. The handler began to move forward with the dog by his side…but the dog quickly moved in front of the handler blocking his forward movement. The handler, somewhat frustrated, inspected the area a second time. This time he saw it. Directly in front of him was a trip wire. The dog had seen it, and had stopped his forward progress, and had, undoubtedly, saved his new handlers life.

That evening as they came in from their mission, the handler went to feed his dog. In his training and time of getting acclimated to the dog, the usual method of feeing him was to place the food in a canteen cup, and the dog would eat from that cup. This day, the dog just looked at the food and refused to eat. The handler wondered what the problem was. The dog, looking at the cup of food, the then handler, went over to the handler’s steel pot (helmet), and nudged it with his nose. The handler thought to himself… “no way”. He tried it anyway…he separated his steel pot from the helmet liner and emptied the food into the steel pot. The dog then began to eat the food. From then on, that’s the only way the dog would eat his food…directly out of his handlers helmet…and only his helmet.

It was as if on that day in the wilderness of Viet Nam, two souls united. One was a person’s, the other’s was a dogs. I will never forget that story, or how it made me cry like a baby in that motel room in Branson that night. Me, tough guy, balling, wiping the tears away from my eyes as I thought about the bond those two had, and about how good God was to give us such devoted, and loving creatures…dogs.

Bob from KS