When Justin W. Coffey, a writer living on a United States Air Force base in Japan, was given the opportunity to be attacked by a Military Working Dog, he was all fur it!
Enter Fitz, a 125 pound Belgian Malinois certified by the Air Force. Adorable.
All Military Working Dogs (MWDs) receive patrol training, which is army lingo for how to attack. Trained for over a year, these dogs can do significant damage, but part of their tutelage is how to avoid a person’s head, groin, and other vital body parts. The dogs are encouraged to go after the “meaty” bits.
Coffey and Sacdalan bulked up in padded safety suits. And according to Coffey, “The first thing they had me do was hold my arm out while the dog sat there, patiently awaiting its orders. It’s an odd feeling to have an animal as powerful as this one look at you in anger. And suddenly, before you can even blink, he’s on you, with his teeth sunk into the suit’s arm.”
Encouraged by Fitz’s handler to fight back (to make the experience more “realistic”) Coffey provoked Fitz by dropping an F-bomb and running away.
“Looking over my shoulder, I could see Fritz moving at full speed,” Coffey said. “By the time I felt his jaws lock onto my upper arm, I was already on my way to the ground. The handlers were there in a flash, then walking me — Fritz still attached — toward the crowd that had gathered to witness this nonsense.”
To be clear, these pups are not simply “attack” dogs. The Military Working Dog program also takes advantage of the pup’s intelligence and superior sense of smell. MWDs are trained in either narcotic or explosive detection, never both. Coffey explains, “They want to be able to know if the dog is indicating 10lbs of plastique or a half-ounce of marijuana; the difference can be life or death.”
The best part about the Military Working Dog program? When these wagnificent workers retire they get a full-fledged, “military-grade” ceremony, “complete with medals, a steak and lobster dinner and, assuming they are fit to be adopted, a few lazy years lounging on a someone’s porch.”
Read the full story about the time Coffey got his butt whooped by a war dog in his pawsome article over at Indefinitely Wild.
And learn how to adopt a canine veteran at Save A Vet