News: Canine's getting the care they deserve
Story by Sgt. Dennis Gravelle
MOSUL, Iraq - Military Working Dogs in Mosul, Iraq receive the best possible care the Army has to offer through the 5th Squadron, 72nd Medical Detachment Veterinary Service.
MWD'?s serve an important role in protecting the troops and detecting explosives that insurgents are trying to smuggle into area's to harm Coalition Forces.
"One part of our job here at the veterinary clinic is to take care of military working dogs," said Capt. Michelle Goodnight, officer in charge, 5th Sqdn., 72nd Med. Det. "We ensure that they are fully able to meet their mission and protect our Soldiers,"
Air Force Staff Sgt. Cameron Bunker, provost marshal office said he loves working with dogs and seeing them receive the care they deserve is rewarding.
"Our dogs save lives of Soldiers we go out with everyday, said Bunker. "They are very unique and special and deserve to be treated the best they can."
According to Goodnight the clinic will see about two dogs per week just to see how they are holding up with the climate in Iraq.
According to Goodnight the first official MWD was used during WWII and was used in the Pacific theatre. The first time they really gained public knowledge was during Vietnam when they were used as guard dogs by Soldiers.
"During the late 70's and early 80's, people didn't really think about MWD's as being a component of the military," Goodnight said. "The program blossomed after that and the Army started utilizing them much more, and they have since become very visible in deployments."
Before an MWD can enter a combat zone they must receive a health certificate before they leave the country.
"Within 72 hours of arriving in country they must see a military vet," said Goodnight. "We check them to see how they did on their trip here and to ensure they are fit to accomplish their mission here."
As a mission ends for MWD's they must return to the veterinary clinic to receive a clean bill of health before redeploying home.
"We do an intense physical," said Goodnight. "We want to make sure the dogs are not taking home any diseases that are native to Iraq, we give them a clean health certificate."
"Our goal is to keep these dogs in Iraq as healthy as they can be," Goodnight said. "We keep them healthy so they can do what they do best, protecting our Soldiers."