“CANINE SOLDIERS”— Military Working Dogs


“Canine Soldiers”

Military Working Dogs

Amos Lassen

Military working dog teams have become the most effective agents in detecting explosives and chemical weapons at home and abroad. The dogs that work with our armed forces share the mission of saving lives. They go through rigorous training and “Canine Soldiers” follows their handlers to learn what it takes to become a successful MWD team. We see how the dogs are bred, how their relationships with their handlers develop, and what it’s like for our handler teams to live in interdependence on the war front. Deployed soldiers eat, sleep, shower and patrol with their dog by their side and they have a special and critical bond with each other forming a relationship of trust where each understands and reads each other’s cues. Unlike regular soldiers, handlers don’t have battle buddies to the right and left of them. Their only battle buddy really is that dog. They literally place their lives in the nose of that dog.

This documentary is  the first war film told from the point of view of a soldier/dog team and it brings together their poignant stories with reflections from notable animal scholars who think outside the box about the significance of co-species evolution. Man has always on his best friend for company, pleasure and even adventure; here we add safety to that list. Even in this age of advanced technology, we are rely on a dog’s sense of smell to survive. By keeping us safe, we learn a great about man’s relationship to nature.

In the film we explore the intimate bond between Military Working Dogs and their handlers—combat soldiers who make life-and-death decisions based on the instincts and behavior of the dogs who lead their patrols. In wars where the rules of engagement have shifted from traditional combat to the unforeseen and the invisible, these highly trained dogs save soldiers’ lives and give them comfort, hope and protection. The film takes us into enter the emotional space of the combat stories we see here.

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