CLEVELAND - Marines showcased their canines' capabilities in Cleveland's Public Square during Marine Week 2012.
Military working dogs go through several months of extensive training, starting at a very young age: 6 weeks old.
U.S. troops in Afghanistan heavily rely on the sharp noses of IED dogs to sniff out deadly improvised explosive devices.
The Labrador Retrievers visiting Cleveland include 7-year-old Books and 8-year-old Goodwin. They have both been to Afghanistan four times and each one has discovered 15 bombs.
Marines say IED dogs have a proven success record saving lives and they're invaluable to the Marine Corps.
"The bomb-sniffing dogs are a huge confidence booster to Marines in the line of duty. They are a major factor in defeating the IED threat that the insurgency has created the entire length of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan," said LCpl. Stephen Baccari, 1st Battalion, 25th Marine Regiment, based in Londonderry, NH.
"The IDD (Improvised Detector Dog) community is so small. It's great to show the City of Cleveland and its visitors another aspect of the Marine Corps that no one knows about," said LCpl. Tyler Pearson, 1st Battalion, 25th Marine Regiment, based in Londonderry, NH.
Books and Goodwin will be retiring from military service next week. Their first handlers will have first dibs on adopting them for the remainder of their lives.
Sadly, some dogs are killed or wounded in the line of duty. Since May 2010, 18 of the 650 military working dogs have been killed in action. Several others have been wounded or are missing in action, according to U.S. Central Command.
Here is a schedule of the military working dog team demonstrations this week in Cleveland:
- Thursday: 4 p.m. to 5 p.m. in Public Square
- Friday: 11 a.m. to 12 p.m. and 4 p.m. to 5 p.m. in Public Square
- Saturday: 12 p.m. to 1 p.m. at Burke Lakefront Airport
- Sunday: 12 p.m. to 1 p.m. at Burke Lakefront Airport