Air Force’s military working dogs (MWD) have been given their annual health tick of approval after thorough veterinary checks and vaccinations this month.
CAPTION: Arin Collins, from Companion Animal Health Centre, checks Military Working Dog Ulf of No. 3 Security Forces Squadron as Handler Aircraftman Ian Kerr comforts Ulf. Story by Flight Lieutenant Rob Cochran and Flight Lieutenant Jessica Alder. Photo by Leading Aircraftman Stewart Gould.
Annual veterinary days are held at all MWD sections across Australia.
MWD Kennel Manager Sergeant Aaron Peacock, from RAAF Base Edinburgh, said the result was an MWD capability in top physical condition and ready for missions.
“MWDs are subject to an annual health check just like your dog at home,” Sergeant Peacock said.
“They also receive their annual vaccinations to ensure they are ready to deploy on any short-notice tasking.
“It’s important to keep them fit and healthy as they provide a critical capability to deny, deter and detect any security threats around RAAF bases and their respective flight lines – not to mention we love our dogs and want them to be at peak performance.”
MWDs and their handlers provide security, crime-prevention patrols, emergency response, and intruder-detection roles domestically and in deployed locations around the world.
Dogs and handlers are carefully matched to ensure they work well together.
Once matched, handlers and their dogs work together to maintain a high standard of fitness and training.
Sergeant Peacock said this training included regular testing to ensure they were ready to deploy at any time.
“MWD handlers are assessed bi-monthly through numerous exercises designed to utilise the superior senses of the MWD to achieve tasks, including tracking, wind detecting, building searches, and bite-and-release training, which the dogs enjoy completing,” Sergeant Peacock said.
“MWD training is very rewarding; you can see the hard work and long hours through the quality and results of your MWD.
“And really, who wouldn’t love going to work, training and playing with dogs and going home?
“If you ask me, it can’t get any better than that.”