By Liz Collin

By Liz Collin, WCCO-TV

ST. PAUL (WCCO) — Dogs have been an important part of the U.S. Military for decades. In fact, the only member of the team that raided the Osama bin Laden compound last week we know anything about is a war dog, named Cairo.

Today, there are about 600 war dogs in the military. A counter-terrorism dog has the most training and can cost anywhere from $12,000 to $20,000.

Not only can these military dogs smell up to two miles away, they are trained to rappel down buildings, jump out of airplanes and swim long distances.

Since these dogs do a lot of biting, their teeth can wear down. So, some have titanium teeth, which allow them to continue to break through tough material.

“I’d rather be shot than have that thing tear me up. It would look like a chainsaw went out of control on your arm,” said Alex Dunbar, a former marine who now trains dogs for the military in southern Colorado.

In the raid on the Abbottabad compound, Dunbar believes the dog, a Belgian Malinois, may have been the first member of the U.S. team Bin Laden saw. He says the dogs are sent in first with cameras to live stream video to awaiting soldiers.

In Minnesota, the Ramsey County Sheriff’s Department has 11 canine teams. Deputy Sheriff Gary Pearl says police and military dogs are basically trained the same way.

“It gives the public an idea of how much these dogs are actually capable of doing,” Pearl said.

These dogs can simply do things that humans and machines are incapable of doing.

Comments (3)
  1. tr says:

    every single one of those dogs should be given every consideration possible, no matter what the cost, to live out their lives content if they survive their service….period.

  2. Brian says:

    Having worked at the Department of Defense Dog Training (DoD) Center at Lackland AFB as Veterinary Tech, these Dogs and the training that goes in to it are fabulous. These dogs and their dog handlers are an undivided “Team” that often go un-noticed in the Military. You are correct at the cost of these dogs, and depending on the type of training, narcotics, explosives, and patrol or dual certified, the cost can go higher. I sure wouldn’t want to be on the other side of Belgian Malinois, these dogs are machines.

  3. Joel says:

    There is a wonderful motion picture screenplay floating around Hollywood entitled, MISTER PAPER, THE WAR DOG. It may be the greatest war dog story tht will ever be told. Millikons of dog lovers will stand in long lines ne to see this film. Let us hope Movie GOD will see fit to bless this project

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