Arnold has never been to Afghanistan. Or Iraq. But, under the auspices of the Department of Defense, he’s serving our country — in a manner you might envy, and with results most impressive.
Arnold, as you might guess from his full name — Arnold des Contes D’Hoffmann — is a stud.
Rather than getting deployed to war zones, the Belgian Malinois is sitting pretty at Lackland Air Force Base in San Antonio, where, working with a harem of 16 females, he’s fathered 149 offspring destined to become military working dogs.
Arnold joined the Department of Defense in 2008, according to the Los Angeles Times.
His working skills were so impressive that it was decided he’d be of more use reproducing. Thus he has avoided getting sent to conflicts and settled into a life of making love, not war.
He’s one of only three male dogs at the base with that job description.
Officials say Arnold, who has five more pups on the way, is one of the more productive males in the breeding program at the military working-dog program at Lackland.
The program’s goal is to produce dogs — about 100 a year — that serve longer tours of duty with fewer medical problems than the dogs bought from outside vendors.
The Times reports:
“Dogs capable of sniffing out buried bombs, guarding far-flung bases or displaying aggression on command have been in great demand since the U.S.-led assault on Afghanistan’s Taliban regime in 2001 and the Iraq war in 2003. Arnold, in his own fashion, has done his part for national security.”
Arnold is 7 now, and, of his offspring, about half have been found suitable as working dogs, said Stewart Hilliard, manager of the breeding program.
When Arnold’s not performing, he usually is in a kennel.
“If he gets to chase a ball for several hours, he’s had a good day,” said Hilliard.
About 15 percent of the working dogs that graduate from Lackland each year are from the Belgian Malinois breeding program..
(Photo:Darren Abate / Los Angeles Times)
Posted by jwoestendiek January 24th, 2013 under Muttsblog.
Tags: afghanistan, animals, arnold, Arnold des Contes D’Hoffmann, belgian malinois, breeding, dogs, iraq, lackland air force base, military dogs, military working dogs, pets, program, stud, working dogs
A recent CNN report raises questions about Operation Baghdad Pups, and the charity that oversees the program, SPCA International.
CNN, whose sister network presented a positive and heartwarming portrayal of the program last year, found that SPCA International spent nearly all $27 million it received in donations to raise more money through a direct mail company.
The report also said SPCA International “misrepresented” Baghdad Pups on its tax filings, and that it hired an officer for that program with a “questionable background.”
Two immediate thoughts:
One, in an ideal world, which of course we’re not in, it would have been nice of CNN, or even its less probing sister network, HLN, to do its digging before tugging at our heartstrings to the extent we cough up money.
Two, with animal charities becoming big business, where should the line be drawn when it comes to how much of the money they rake in actually goes to helping animals?
A charity needs to spend money to raise money, of course, but Bob Ottenhoff, president of the charity watchdog group GuideStar, told CNN that the SPCA International’s tax records raise “a number of red flags.”
“No. 1, there is an enormous amount of money going into fund-raising,” Ottenhoff said. “It’s not unusual for a nonprofit to fund-raise. In fact they need to fund-raise. But this organization has an enormous amount of fund-raising costs, certainly relative to the amount of money being spent.”
Of the $14 million raised in 2010, SPCA International reported it spent about $60,000, less than 0.5%, on cash grants to animal shelters across the United States. About $450,000 — about 3% of the total raised in 2010 — went to bring back animals from Iraq and Afghanistan as part of its “Baghdad Pups” program.
The CNN report seems to make much of the fact that most of those animals weren’t actual members of the armed services — but, from our coverage of the organization, it never seemed to making the claim that they were.
Baghdad Pups is a program that “helps U.S. troops safely transport home the companion animals they befriend in the war zone,” it states on the website.
As CNN put it, “the charity admitted that only 26 of the nearly 500 animals transported to the United States from Iraq and Afghanistan were actually service animals. The rest were stray animals … And those 26 service animals were not attached to military K-9 units but belonged to Reed Inc., a private contractor that built roads in Iraq and Afghanistan.”
While dogs abandoned by contracting companies have been a concern of the program, stray animals, as I understood it, were what the program was all about — seeing that, in cases where they bonded with soldiers, they had a chance to come home with them.
While the CNN report may have been barking up the wrong tree in that regard, it was on the money in other ways — namely, in looking at what happens to the money.
SPCA International funneled nearly all the donations to Quadriga Art, one of the world’s largest direct-mail providers to charities and nonprofits. The payments to Quadriga Art and its affiliated company, Brickmill Marketing Services, were for publicizing the organization and helping it raise more funds.
It is the same company hired by two veterans charities that spent tens of millions of dollars for its services, triggering a Senate investigation last month. One of the charities,Washington-based Disabled Veterans National Foundation, collected nearly $56 million in donations over the past three years yet paid Quadriga Art more than $60 million in fees, raising questions about whether it should retain its tax-exempt status.
SPCA International is still $8 million in debt to Quadriga Art, according to a spokeswoman for the direct-mail firm.
Lat week’s CNN report also brought up previous problems Operation Baghdad spokeswoman Terri Crisp encountered while working on behalf of animals.
Crisp, who appeared on CNN’s sister network, HLN, last year with two dogs rescued from Iraq, is the former head of a California-based animal rescue charity called Noah’s Wish. It took in $8 million in contributions to support its work “rescuing and caring for the animal victims of Hurricane Katrina.” An investigation by the California attorney general was looking into whether that money was being used for that purpose when a settlement was reached in 2007.
Crisp, while not admitting to any wrongdoing, agreed to return $4 million in donations, and to not ”serve as an officer, director or trustee or in any position having the duties or responsibilities of an officer, director or trustee, with any non-profit organization” for five years.
Posted by jwoestendiek July 18th, 2012 under Muttsblog, videos.
Tags: afghanistan, animal welfare, animals, armed service, baghdad, bringing, charities, cnn, contractors, direct mail, dogs, finances, fund raising, fundraising, guide star, hln, home, investigation, iraq, K-9, k9, noahs wish, non profits, nonprofits, operation baghdad pups, organizations, pets, pups, quadriga art, reed inc, rehoming, report, rescue, saving, shelter, soldiers, spca international, stray, strays, terri crisp, troops
What at least one doctor prescribed, a New York housing complex says must go — a Shih Tzu that helps a seven-year Army veteran cope with his post-traumatic stress.
Eugene Ovsishcher returned from a nine-month combat tour in Afghanistan suffering nightmares, flashbacks and anxiety, leading a psychiatrist and his family doctor to advise he get a dog.
Last August he did — a Shih Tzu puppy that he named Mickey because he crawled like a mouse. Mickey woke him from nightmares and served to calm him down when he was alone and anxious.
“Take a look at his face,” Ovsischcher told the New York Times. “You can’t stay anxious or angry or whatever. You look at that face and you start laughing.”
But those in charge at his housing complex, Trump Village in Coney Island, aren’t laughing. They’ve ordered him to get rid of the dog, in accordance with their no-pets policy, or leave.
Ovsishcher says he’d rather give up his home, where he lives with his wife, Galina, and their two children, Philip, 15, and Yaffa, 10.
“I can’t get rid of a family member,” said Ovsishcher, 42, who enlisted in the Army five years after immigrating from Moscow in 1994. “If they asked me which I want to keep, the kids or the apartment, I would keep the kids. Same thing with the dog.”
Ovsishcher says that the building staff has seen him with his dog since Mickey showed up in August and that nothing was done to remove him until February, when he received a warning letter. Under New York law, a loophole allows dog owners who don’t receive notification to get rid of a dog within 90 days to keep their dogs. He also says he applied to register Mickey with the building as a comfort dog, but he was turned down.
A subway repairman, Ovsishcher served with NATO troops in Kosovo, and then as a field artillery sergeant in Afghanistan, where enemy rocket fire took a toll on him psychologically.
Ovsishcher’s lawyer, Maddy Tarnofsky, has filed a federal housing discrimination complaint on his behalf.
“The heart of this story is that there is a guy who comes to this country and enlists and puts himself in harm’s way,” Ms. Tarnofsky said. “He didn’t have to do this, and he comes back damaged and they spit on him. A doctor recommends he have a support animal, and for some unknown reason they decide that they’re not doing this for him.”
(Photo: Ángel Franco / The New York Times)
Posted by jwoestendiek May 29th, 2012 under Muttsblog.
Tags: afghanistan, animals, army, brooklyn, co-op, comfort, coney island, doctors, dog, dogs, eugene ovsishcher, evict, eviction, health, housing, kosovo, new york, no pets allowed, pets, post traumatic stress, psychiatry, ptsd, service, shih-tzu, subway, support, therapy, trump village, veteran, worker
“60 Minutes” correspondent Lara Logan went to Afghanistan to report on brothers serving together in the U.S. Marines.
But apparently she fell in love while on assignment.
She completed her report, and it aired last night, with no mention of the behind the scenes romance — which saw Logan wrap a civilian named Bill into her arms and smuggle him past authorities. For that, you have to go to the 60 Minutes Overtime website.
There you will learn that Bill was a puppy
While working in the field, Logan and her producer Tom Anderson met a group of Marines from the 1st Battalion, 23rd Marine Regiment, who had taken in an orphaned puppy, near death when they found him.
“You know, everyone has this image of Marines as jarheads and door-kickers” said Logan. “But when we got to this patrol base, we saw these guys sitting around caring for Bill. I just watched for a little while, and it was very clear from the first moment that all these Marines loved this little dog. They were mad about him.”
It wasn’t long before Logan fell for Bill, too, and agreed to sneak him to an animal shelter in Kabul, where he could stay until one of the soldiers finalized his plan to take him back to the U.S.
With help from a bureau chief there, who harbored the pup for a while, the dog eventually made it to the shelter, where the love story came to a sad ending. Bill, it turned out, had parvo, and died.
Logan, fighting back tears, explains what happened next in the video above. The soldier decided to use the funds he’d raised to get Bill home to rescue another dog from the shelter, in Bill’s honor, and bring him back to the U.S.
Watch it until the end and you’ll see that’s exactly what happened.
Posted by jwoestendiek May 27th, 2012 under Muttsblog, videos.
Tags: 60 minutes, 60 minutes overtime, afghanistan, animals, assignment, bill, brothers, cbs, correspondent, dog, kabul, lara logan, love, marines, pets, puppy, rescue, serving, shelter, smuggled, soldiers, together, video, war
Darak, a white, mixed-breed dog who took three bullets and was run over by a car while living as a stray in Afghanistan, was reunited with one of the men responsible for sending him to the U.S.
“Hey, buddy,” Kyle Huttenlocker, a 30-year-old security company employee just back to Indiana from Kabul said. “Remember me?”
Darak, it appeared, did, according to a story published in the Greenfield Daily Reporter.
In late 2010, Huttenlocker was in Kabul, Afghanistan, working for a security company hired by the State Department to protect the U.S. Embassy.
“There was a stray dog that lived in an alley right behind our camp that we were all very fond of,” said Huttenlocker, a Bloomington native who previously spent a year in Iraq as a member of the U.S. military.
Darak, who Huttenlocker and others named after the neighborhood they were in, was scrounging for food, and doing his best to avoid those who mistreated him. Given the affection he received, and bologna, he started calling the camp home.
“Afghans don’t treat dogs very well,” Huttenlocker said. “They throw rocks at them and hit them with sticks … Darak would hang out with us behind our camp, and bark at the Afghans whenever they walked by.”
One day Huttenlocker heard that Darak had been run over my an Afghan motorist. He and friends rushed to the area and found the dog hiding in a ditch.
Huttenlocker and his friends pooled their money and gave $400 to a dog rescue kennel in Kabul, which housed Darak for three weeks. The kennel contacted the Puppy Rescue Mission, a nonprofit organization that raises funds to help American soldiers bring dogs home.
The mission raised more than $4,500 to transport Darak to a veterinary clinic in Pakistan, then to the U.S. for more extensive treatment.
Three months ago, Huttenlocker’s mother, Beth Sherfield, picked up Darak at the Indianapolis International Airport.
Sherfield took Darak to a Bloomington veterinarian, who found he had a fractured spine, and that his abdomen contained three bullets. She then dropped him off at Wayport Kennels, where, as she hoped, another family that had heard his story came forward to adopt him.
“We needed another dog like we needed a hole in the head,” said Kathy Headley, who along with her husband, Steve, already had three dogs and three inside cats. But, she reports, they are all mostly getting along.
The Headleys paid $4,000 to an Indianapolis veterinary hospital to have Darak’s broken spine repaired and the bullets removed.
Upon seeing Huttenlocker, who stopped by for a visit upon his return to the country, Darak limped over to him and began licking his hands.
“How you doing, Bub?” Huttenlocker said, scratching Darak behind the ears. “It’s good to see you again. You’re one lucky dog.”
(Photo: From the Chip-in page for Darak)
Posted by jwoestendiek March 28th, 2012 under Muttsblog.
Tags: abused, adopted, afghanistan, animals, bloomington, darak, dog, dogs, indiana, kabul, kyle huttenlocker, mixed breed, mutt, pets, puppy rescue mission, rescue, rescued, security, state department, stray, streets, us embassy
Just like their human counterparts, dogs in the military can suffer the symptoms of post traumatic stress disorder — and they’re doing so at a rate nearly as high as humans.
By some estimates, more than 5 percent of the approximately 650 military dogs deployed by American combat forces are developing canine PTSD, according to a report in yesterday’s New York Times:
“ … (T)he concept of canine PTSD is only about 18 months old, and still being debated. But it has gained vogue among military veterinarians, who have been seeing patterns of troubling behavior among dogs exposed to explosions, gunfire and other combat-related violence in Iraq and Afghanistan.”
Of the dogs who show symptoms, about half are likely to be prematurely retired from service, said Walter F. Burghardt Jr., chief of behavioral medicine at the Daniel E. Holland Military Working Dog Hospital at Lackland Air Force Base.
The Times article, accompanied by the beautiful photograph above, reported that dogs show the symptoms in different ways, much like humans with the disorder. They may become hyper-vigilant, undergo temperament changes, turn aggressive with their handlers, or start becoming timid and clingy, avoiding areas that they had once been comfortable in.
Most crucial of all — at least as the military sees it — they can also stop doing the tasks they’re being relied on to perform.
“If the dog is trained to find improvised explosives and it looks like it’s working, but isn’t, it’s not just the dog that’s at risk,” Dr. Burghardt said. “This is a human health issue as well.”
The number of dogs on active duty has risen from 1,800 in 2001 to about 2,700. The training school headquartered at Lackland prepares about 500 dogs a year for deployment.
Combining all branches of the armed services, more than 50 military dogs have been killed since 2005, the article reported.
Dr. Burghardt uses videos to train veterinarians to spot canine PTSD, such as this one of a dog that, while he has no problem inspecting a car, refused to go inside a bus or a building.
Treatment of dogs suspected of having the disorder can range from taking them off patrol and allowing them to just be dogs for a few days to ”desensitization counterconditioning,” which involves exposing a dog, in increments, to sights or sounds he’s reacting nervously to and rewarding him when he doesn’t react.
Dogs that do not recover quickly are returned to their home bases, and those that continue to show symptoms after three months are usually retired or transferred to different duties, Dr. Burghardt said.
(Photo: Bryce Harper for the New York Times)
Posted by jwoestendiek December 3rd, 2011 under Muttsblog.
Tags: afghanistan, animals, army, article, canine ptsd, care, combat, dogs, forces, humans, iraq, lackland air force base, military dogs, new york times, pets, post traumatic stress disorder, ptsd, service, soldiers, symptoms, treatment, veterinarians, walter f. burghardt, war
Two men will be sentenced in February for killing former Navy SEAL Marcus Luttrell’s service dog.
One entered a guilty plea to the charges this week, and a second was found guilty yesterday by a jury in Walker County, Texas, according to the Huntsville Item.
Luttrell took the stand Thursday, with his new service dog, Rigby, at his side. He testified he was so angry the night his dog, DASY, was killed by gunfire from a passing car that, while chasing the car down, he pulled his pistol.
“I wanted to take a shot at the driver, but I figured if I missed and shot out the back window, I would not be able to catch them,” Luttrell said.
DASY — an acronym for Luttrell’s fellow Navy SEALs that were slain in the line of duty — was shot on April 1, 2009. A Labrador retriever, she was given to him by friends to help him cope with emotional and physical injuries sustained in the war in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Luttrell was the lone survivor of a 2005 mission in which his SEAL team was pinned down in a firefight with Taliban forces in Afghanistan. He was awarded the Navy Cross for combat heroism in 2006.
He testified in court Tursday that he let DASY out and was watching television when he heard a gunshot and, grabbing his gun, went to see what had happened.
“I saw my dog in a ditch and two men standing outside the car. I could hear them laughing,” said Luttrell who would go on to chase the car through Walker, San Jacinto and Polk counties before a patrol officer with the Onalaska Police Department pulled it over.
According to testimony in the case, one occupant of the car, after the dog was shot, got out and kicked and beat the animal with a bat.
“(Alfonso Hernandez) got out and kicked and beat that dog and thought it was funny. They thought it was just another dog,” Assistant District Attorney Stephanie Stroud during closing arguments. “To Marcus Luttrell it was so much more. It was a symbol he carried around for what happened to him. He was reminded of the people it was named after. To Marcus Luttrell that was just not another dog.”
Alfonso Hernandez was found guilty of cruelty to non-livestock animals, which carries a sentence of up to two years in a state facility and a $10,000 fine.
Two days earlier, Michael Edmonds pleaded guilty to the same charge and admitted he was the one who fired the shot that killed DASY.
Sentencing is expected to take place in February.
Posted by jwoestendiek December 2nd, 2011 under Muttsblog.
Tags: afghanistan, alfonso hernandez, animal cruelty, animals, beaten, cruelty to animals, dasy, dog, dogs, iraq, killed, marcus luttrell, michael edmonds, navy, pets, seal, service dog, shooting, texas, therapy dogs, war hero
Hawkeye, the dog photographed lying next to the casket of his master, a slain Navy SEAL, may be taking part in a tribute to his owner at a University of Iowa football game this fall.
Iowa’s athletics department announced Tuesday that it will honor Jon Tumilson at a Hawkeye home game in November as part of a commemoration of Veteran’s Day.
The department said it will work with Tumilson’s family to determine what role his dog, Hawkeye, might play in the memorial.
Tumilson, from Rockford, Iowa, was one of 30 American soldiers killed in Afghanistan on Aug. 6 when their helicopter was shot down.
Tumilson’s Labrador retriever laid by his casket for much of the Aug. 19 funeral ceremony, after which photos of his loyal display went viral.
Tumilson, who joined the Navy after graduating high school in 1995, was a big Hawkeye football and wrestling fan, according to the Washington Post.
A former Iowa player suggested the dog lead the team on the field.
Tumilson’s mother, Kathleen, said her son made it clear he wanted Hawkeye at his funeral. “He didn’t have family; that was his son,” she said.
When Hawkeye went to their home after the funeral, she said, he went directly to her son’s room.
Hawkeye is now staying with her son’s friends in Texas.
Posted by jwoestendiek August 31st, 2011 under Muttsblog.
Tags: afghanistan, black lab, casket, college, dog, football, funeral, hawkeye, hawkeyes, jon tumilson, labrador retriever, navy, photo, seal, tribute, university of iowa, war
When funeral services were held in Rockford, Iowa, for U.S. Navy SEAL Jon Tumilson Friday, his dog Hawkeye remained at his casket for the duration.
The scene was captured by Tumilson’s cousin, Lisa Pembleton.
“I felt compelled to take one photo to share with family members that couldn’t make it or couldn’t see what I could from the aisle,” Pembleton wrote on her Facebook page.
Nearly two dozen Navy SEALs were among the 30 Americans who died August 6 when a Taliban fighter with a rocket-propelled grenade fired on a helicopter in Afghanistan. It was the deadliest single loss for U.S. forces in the decade-long war.
Tumilson, 35, lived in San Diego for eight years before becoming a member of SEAL Team 6. He was an avid runner, who competed in marathons and triathlons, NBC in San Diego reported.
A memorial fund has been set up in his honor and donations can be sent to:
Frogman 238 Memorial Fund
First Security Bank and Trust
201 West Main Ave.
Rockford, IA 50468
(Photo by Lisa Pembleton)
Posted by jwoestendiek August 25th, 2011 under Muttsblog.
Tags: afghanistan, casket, cousin, dog, facebook, funeral, grenade, hawkeye, helicopter, iowa, jon tumilson, lisa pembleton, loyalty, navy, photo, rockford, san diego, seal, taliban
Tasker, of the Royal Army Veterinary Corps, was shot while on patrol in Helmand province on March 1. His bomb-sniffing springer spaniel, Theo — though not physically injured in that incident — died three hours later.
“I would like to believe he (Theo) died of a broken heart to be with Liam,” said Tasker’s mother, Jane Duffy.
This week, as the soldier’s body came home, hundreds of mourners lined the main street to pay respects to both dog and master, the Telegraph reported.
The body of Tasker, from Kirkcaldy, Fife, and the ashes of Theo had earlier been flown back in the same aircraft.
Tasker suffered fatal injuries in a firefight with the Taliban, while Theo died after returning to Camp Bastion, the main British military base. Tasker was the 358th member of the British Armed Forces to die since operations in Afghanistan began; Theo was the sixth British military dog killed in action in Iraq and Afghanistan since 2001.
Theo, not quite two years old, had drawn praise for detecting 14 hidden bombs and weapons caches in just five months on his first tour of duty in Afghanistan. His success at finding Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs) led to his stay in the country being extended for a month.
Tasker was said to have a “natural empathy with dogs” and was described as a “rising star” within the dog training group. The pair were said to be “made for each other.”
Posted by jwoestendiek March 11th, 2011 under Muttsblog.
Tags: afghanistan, animals, bomb-sniffing, bombs, british, broken heart, dog, dogs, ied, killed, liam tasker, military, royal army, seizure, shot, soldier, spaniel, springer spaniel, theo, veterinary corps, war