Hero Dogs: Military Dog Handlers Talk About the Dogs Who Saved Their Lives

Animal Nation recently attended the 2012 Department of Defense K-9 Dog Trials, where Military Working Dogs from all four service branches competed for the title of Top Dog.

That's where we met two dog and handler teams: Air Force Tech Sergeant Justin Kitts and his canine partner, Dyngo; and Army Sergeant Jason Cartwright and his dog Isaac. We were privileged to sit down with both of these teams to hear them talk about the bond between dog and handler.

Both teams recently deployed to Afghanistan, where their primary job was explosives detection, searching for IED's and roadside bombs. Dyngo and Isaac (and their well-trained noses) saved hundreds of lives abroad, but they also served an equally important mission: one of being a companion and a reminder of home for both their handlers and the other service members who served next to them.

These days, both dogs and handlers are back home. Tech Sgt. Kitts is currently stationed at Luke Air Force base in Arizona where he works as an instructor in the dog program, while Sgt. Cartwright, who was the only competitor from the Army's Engineer Canine Company, is based out of Ft. Leonard Wood in Missouri. Both men hope to adopt their dogs upon their retirement from the Military Working Dog program.

If you'd like to find out more about the Military Working Dog program, including information about adopting retired dogs, check out the program's website here.