Emma, Claire, Lizzie and Jimmy Rubadue have a golden retriever named Holly at their house. But as they stood in the front of the crowd gathered to watch the military working dog demonstration during Marine Week Cleveland, they were full of smiles and excitement as they chatted about just what the demonstration would hold.
After a few minutes of watching, though, the kids realized this type of dog was very different from their pet at home.
“We’ve never seen working dogs before – just seeing eye dogs,” said Emma, age 13.
As Lance Cpl. Tyler J. Pearson, a dog handler with 3rd Battalion, 25th Marine Regiment, led his working dog, Books, through a series of maneuvers using hand signals, whistles and voice commands, the gang was wide-eyed with just how different this type of dog was.
Books identified and retrieved items signifying improved explosive devices and other explosives in a simulated display of his discovery skills.
“We play fetch with our dog, but she never brings anything back,” said Claire, age 12.
Although in a true combat environment, Books wouldn’t retrieve explosive devices, the demonstration pin-pointed just how prepared military working dogs are to heed any command by their Marine handler.
“Our dog isn’t very good,” said Lizzie, age 9. “She eats things like shoes. She ate Claire’s shoe.”
The kids were in agreement that these dogs were much better behaved than Holly and said their favorite part of the demonstration was when the working dogs located items hidden among the crowd using their keen sense of smell.
After the demonstration, the kids got a chance to pet and interact with Books. Although Books has seen his fair share of the world’s troubles during four deployments to Afghanistan, he still basked in the additional attention and adoration just like any dog.
That bond between man and dog was something that even the Rubadue children could relate to.
// By Paul R. Ross, U.S. Navy Bureau of Medicine and Surgery Public Affairs
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