Updated 08/01/2012 07:07 PM
Military gets variety of help from man's best friend
Earlier this summer, Fort Drum's 91st Military Police Company returned home from a deployment to Afghanistan. Coming home with them, the four legged friends who help them keep everyone safe. Dogs play an important role in military missions overseas. Our Brian Dwyer has more on what the working dogs do and also introduces us to one dog that helps soldiers here at home.
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FORT DRUM, N.Y. -- Stranded vehicles, unknown visitors, bomb, drugs and more. Just some of the stuff the 91st Military Police Company on Fort Drum gets help with from man's best friend.
"We're keeping soldiers out of harm's way," Detector Dog Handler SSGT Timothy Roye said. "The dogs are doing their job and we're making sure the guys get home alright and safe."
The dogs are almost a perfect compliment, doing what soldiers cannot do.
"The human eye and nose can only do so much," Roye said. "A dog, their senses, their whole system is hundreds times better than you can smell."
And just like a soldier, before a dog gets overseas, he or she has to train. Obstacle courses teach terrain. Detection methods of things like bombs and drugs, do as well. But the biggest part is just gaining that trust. Trust that keeps soldiers safe and the dogs safe as well.
"The repertoire building," Patrol Dog Handler Sgt. Kyle Bloss said. "Take them out to the yard and just play with them and love on them. Build that bond."
And from the dogs that help the soldiers on the battlefield, to the one that helps them off of it. You're about to meet Arnold, one of the most popular fellahs walking around this whole post.
"Arnold is an eight-year-old, 200 pound English Mastiff," Jon Fishman, the Army Substance Abuse Center Supervisor for Prevention and Education said.
Arnold spends his days at the Substance Abuse Center with soldiers going through any number of issues. Issues that many just don't like to talk about. But Arnold, who is described as the friendliest thing alive on Fort Drum, has an ability to help people open up.
"They may not want to talk to me, particularly, about maybe a drug or alcohol problem or problems that they have, but they'll come and sit with Arnold," Fishman said. "In the course of sitting and petting Arnold, it'll loosen them up to go ahead and talk a bit."
It's that first step that can often get a soldier on the right path and Arnold continues to be a friend through the entire process.
"The joy he brings to people," Fishman added. "He lights face up. They're just happy to see him. Even if you're not having a good day, for a moment you're taken out of your troubles."
Two very different styles, one very similar successful mission.
Arnold was two-years-old when he was brought in to the Fishman family as a rescue. He's been coming to Drum almost daily for about a year now.