Iraq ER Saves Military Canines
First surgery ward in Iraq saving dogs that sniff for bombs.
The U.S. militarys first urgent surgical care ward for canines in Iraq, which opened last October, has improved the odds of survival for dogs that sniff for hidden bombs, according to the Los Angeles Times.
As the dogs became more important due to insurgents frequent use of explosives, the Army realized that it needed emergency care available in Iraq rather than sending injured animals to Germany or the United States, the Times said.
It reached a buildup of dogs here and a concern level that said we had to do something to support these animals the best way possible, said Lt. Col. Randall Thompson, who runs the ward. Every day that we can keep a dog out on the line working is another day that a soldier or Marine is going to live because the dog was doing its job.
In January, Thompson and other vets saved Flapeur, a Belgian Malinois who had a collapsed lung and was in shock after he was hit in the chest by shrapnel from a suicide bombing. Thompson told the Times that Flapeur likely would have died if his surgical ward had not been available in the country. Two other dogs were injured in the bombing, and a handler was killed.
All three dogs are expected to recover and return to duty.
Posted: Feb. 14, 2006, 3 p.m. EST
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