Army Dogs have been an integral part of the Armed Forces since time immemorial but their silent service to the nation always go unnoticed. There is more to a military dog than to just detect explosives and alert about enemy insurgency.
The relation between a soldier and the dog is as old as the battlefield itself. Romans were the first to use trained dogs in close combats and the inherent desire of the dog to please its master makes the task of training the animal easier.
Here are some lesser known facts about military dogs in India:
- Like the soldiers, they too undergo rigorous training of their level and only some of them make it through while others are rejected.
- The army dogs are no ordinary pets as their history is full of valiant tales. The fact that Remount Veterinary Corps (RVC) is decorated with a Shaurya Chakra and close to 150 commendation cards is reason enough to prove their worth.
- Army has around 1,000 trained dogs in its ranks. The task to maintain the strength is assigned to RVC.
- The army dogs are integral part of search and rescue operations where they have to assist in recovering explosives. Without them, the search operations would be at a stand-still.
- They are taught to respond to military-specific hand gestures and even verbal orders by their handlers.
- While undergoing extensive military training, the dogs are coached in commands that require them to hold their barks in situations of combat, in order not to reveal their position to the enemy.
- An army dog squad had participated in Republic Day parade after 26 years in 2016. The RVC Centre and College in Meerut Cantt had put in great effort to prepare the squad for the march past.
- The most preferred army dogs are the German Shepherd and Labradors because of their natural ability to adapt to any training schedule. They are easy to train and have the special ability to perform the tasks required by the army.
- Their service lasts anywhere from 8-10 years (ambiguous).
- As soon as they retire from service, they are euthanized. The army finds it expensive to maintain their post military care. Risk is also of their knowledge on sensitive locations being revealed to enemies.
Let us all take a moment and acknowledge the contributions of this animal’s speechless service to the nation. Bow-wow!