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    Working with the big dogs; Four-legged warrior, Marine share bond

    Working with the big dogs; Four-legged warrior, Marine share bond

    Photo By Sgt. Jared Lingafelt | Military working dog handler Cpl. David Alviar gives his narcotics detecting partner,...... read more read more



    Story by Lance Cpl. Jared Lingafelt 

    Marine Corps Installations East       

    MARINE CORPS BASE CAMP LEJEUNE,N.C. - Some individuals know exactly what they want to pursue as a career when they grow up, and others ponder the decision for years to come. For military working dog handler, Cpl. David Alviar, Headquarters Support Battalion, the choice was clear.

    “Being a dog handler is why I became a military policeman,” said Alviar.

    Alviar joined the Marine Corps in July of 2010. Enlisting as a military policeman was a choice he made to better himself and see the world.

    “When I joined, I wanted to make myself grow up and get some life experience before I got out into the real world,” said Alviar.
    After a deployment to Helmand province, Afghanistan, Alviar returned stateside and was determined to get a shot at working with the big dogs.

    “When I was going through MP school there wasn’t an opportunity to be a handler, so when I came back from Afghanistan I spoke with the kennel master on base and he gave me a shot,” said Alviar.

    After a thorough screening process, Alviar was selected to attend training two years into his career as an MP, becoming one of only five Marines representing Camp Lejeune at the base K-9 unit.
    “To even be selected for an interview, you have to be a stand out Marine with good reports from your peers and your command,” said John Salvetti, kennel master for the base Provost Marshal’s Office.

    Being a dog handler presents its own unique challenges and rewards, welcomed by both the Marine and his four legged partner.
    “I have always loved dogs and being able to teach and train them, while trying to break the language barrier, it is just amazing,” said Alviar.

    Alviar and his partner, Aldo, an 83 pound, 3-year-old narcotics detecting German shepherd, have been working together for only one year and have already contributed to local drug related searches.

    “They work very well together as a team,” said Salvetti. “It’s great to watch their relationship grow as they work together. They have recently been accredited with two narcotics finds aboard base, which pays tribute to their teamwork and bond they share.”

    Military working dogs like Aldo are an important asset to the Marine Corps and military policemen around the world.

    “We have narcotics dogs and bomb dogs,” said Alviar. “Aldo and I find drugs and weed out the people who bring drugs on base and bomb dogs detect explosives.”

    Becoming a dog handler is a highly selective process, ensuring a certain breed of Marines receive the honor of working side by side with the highly trained animals.

    “To become a handler you have to be selected, not just everyone gets the job,” said Alviar. “You have to be in a good mood when you are working with the dogs. Everything you do runs down leash, because the dogs react off of your body language. This makes working with the dogs fun, because no matter what everyone is doing, they are always friendly with each other and that translates into our work with our dogs.”

    Through all the hard work, the rewards of the job make all of the long days and nights worth it, something Aldo and Alviar will continue for years to come.

    “The bond and relationship that you build with your dog is invaluable,” said Alviar. “At the end of the day being able to say I trained that dog to do that is a great feeling.”

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    Date Taken: 05.28.2014
    Date Posted: 05.28.2014 13:05
    Story ID: 131323

    Web Views: 550
    Downloads: 1