A Friend for Life

first_img The Colombian Army’s K-9 Department currently has close to 3,500 active dogs, like Sasha, in 13 training centers distributed throughout the country’s main cities. The units fall under the Directorate of Military Engineers, which has been responsible for training and pairing up teams to confront natural disasters and enemy challenges since 1997. The dogs are specifically trained in one of five specialties, including mine and narcotics detection, search and rescue, installation security, and agility. Each dog is assigned to a human counterpart for life, and together they make up the teams that only end when one of the team members dies. Many of the noncommissioned officers (NCOs) and Soldiers who have trained in the different specialties agree that these dogs are “like a brother in the patrol, another Soldier.” The training is carried out in five phases of operational and terrain adaptation. Each is necessary to make the teams fully capable in their specialized field. As soon as the dogs reach one year of age, the trainings are set up as games. The phases include: According to data from the Colombian National Army and statistics from the Presidential Program for Mine Action, 1,079 members of the Armed Forces died between 2000 and 2009, while 3,711 were hurt, most of them mutilated. “The participation of canine-Soldier teams has been highly effective for our Army because the percentage of casualties and those injured by explosives – both, to our troops and to the civilian population – has been greatly reduced as a result,” said Captain Eliécer Suárez, chief of the Canine Department at ESING. During the search and rescue of anti-personnel mines in the operational field, dogs are trained to sniff through a given area until they successfully identify the exact place where the mines are buried. The dogs know that once their objective is detected, they must warn their trainer of the find through a passive sign. This is done simply by sitting close to the objective. “It’s difficult for a dog to make a mistake,” assures Sgt. Viveros, sitting next to Zeus, his German shepherd trained in search and rescue. FAC Colombia’s Air Force (FAC, for its Spanish acronym) has its own Military Canine Training Center that has trained and bred military dogs since 2006. Currently, the Military Canine Training Center (CICAM, for its Spanish acronym) has 158 dogs of varying ages, mainly Belgian shepherds. During a visit to the Colombian Military’s School of Engineers (ESING, for its Spanish acronym) Canine Training and Retraining Center in Bogotá, Diálogo talked to the NCOs responsible for the canine program. Sergeant First Class Rafael Viveros, director of the search and rescue program, explained that the use of dogs for this task is not only a logical move, but also one that greatly benefits the force. “[The dogs] have 250 million olfactory cells in comparison to the 5 million that humans have,” said Sgt. Viveros. “In addition to their agility and speed, this makes them an important asset to find a person that may need help.” The Army recruits or purchases the dogs from different breeding kennels, mainly Labs or golden retrievers, for their agility, intelligence, ease of learning, good-natured disposition and in general, for the positive results gained thus far. But they also work with German and Belgian shepherds. At the same time, the Army personnel look for specific profiles in the human counterparts. Psychological tests are used to select people with personalities that are kindred to animals and the work involving them. The courses for the dogs and their trainers vary in length. For example, the canine guide courses for search and rescue as well as the explosives detection course last 14 weeks each. These courses are carried out during 48 weekly training hours of classes. The classes include topics such as explosives detection techniques, first aid, canine training techniques, weaponry, as well as kennel hygiene and maintenance. The main difference between the two services is that the FAC’s canine units are not exposed to “hot zones” in the operating field, like those trained by the country’s Army. “The pups remain with their mothers for two months, at which point they are introduced to different processes of early stimulation,” said Lieutenant Omar Reátiga Rincón, veterinarian and instructor in charge of the training program at CICAM. Sasha served the Colombian National Army for most of her life; her colleagues saw her as yet another Soldier fighting on the frontlines against the country’s terrorist groups. From the beginning of her military career she was trained in explosives and anti-personnel mine detection, completing approximately 3,000 missions during six years of service. During this time, she detected more than 100 anti-personnel mines and saved innumerable lives. In September 2010, the Colombian Army’s Operation Sodoma led to the death of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) head Jorge Briceño Suárez, aka Mono Jojoy. During Operation Sodoma, Sasha detected eight anti-personnel mines close to Mono Jojoy’s shelter, but when her presence was detected, a grenade was thrown in her direction. Sasha’s untimely death became the institution’s only casualty during the operation. Sasha was a 7-year-old black Labrador retriever, trained by the Colombian Army since her first year of life. She represented half of her team — as human guides are coupled with a dog in the Army’s K-9 operations. Her human counterpart, who did not reveal his name during an interview in honor of the black Lab by local television program Vamos Colombia, remembered Sasha as being “a sweet, playful and very smart puppy who was completely devoted to her job.” center_img By Dialogo April 01, 2012 Association of smells: consists of permeating dog toys with different smells, including narcotics and explosives, and teaching the dogs to recognize these by way of positive reinforcement. Collar or leash-restricted tracking: accustoms the dog to only obey his master’s orders by use of these tools. Adaptation to extreme situations: familiarizes the canines with loud sounds, textures of different types of terrain, different environments, weather, etc. Systematized area registry: teaches the dogs exactly where to search, how to carry out searches, and what to search for and find. FOR 6 YEARS I WAS A CANINE GUIDE, AND IN 2006 I WAS A VICTIM OF IT…BUT I LOVED BEING A CANINE GUIDE IT HAS BEEN ONE OF MY BEST EXPERIENCES IN THE ARMY. I LOVE THE CANINES.last_img read more

Gov. Wolf Calls for Universal Masking

first_imgGov. Wolf Calls for Universal Masking Press Release,  Public Health Masks Can Help Stop COVID-19 SpreadDuring a COVID-19 press briefing today Governor Tom Wolf recommended that all Pennsylvanians wear a mask any time they leave their homes for life-sustaining reasons. As COVID-19 cases steadily rise in the state, Gov. Wolf stressed the need to intensify all measures to help stop the spread of the virus.“Two days ago, I amplified our social distancing efforts by instituting a statewide stay-at-home order, and today I am asking all Pennsylvanians to wear a mask any time they leave their houses,” Gov. Wolf said. “Masks help prevent people from sharing illnesses. But, they don’t do a great job at keeping people from getting sick; and, they’re not foolproof, so it is critical that our first act is to ask ourselves if we really need to leave our house. If we don’t really, truly need to leave, then we shouldn’t.”“Staying home is the most effective way to protect yourself and others against COVID-19,” Sec. of Health Dr. Rachel Levine said. “But, if you must go out because you are out of food or medication, then wearing a mask, or even a bandana across your nose and mouth, could be an extra layer of protection.“You don’t need a surgical mask – we need those for our health care workers and first responders. We have guidance on universal masking on our website, including instructions on how to make your own mask using materials you have at home.”As of midnight, Pennsylvania’s COVID-19 cases stand at 8,420 in 63 counties with 102 deaths. Gov. Wolf’s statewide stay-at-home order asks Pennsylvanians in all 67 counties to not leave their homes unless it’s for life-sustaining reasons. Today, he asked that wearing a mask during those life-sustaining trips becomes the norm.“Wearing a mask will help us cut down the possibility that we might be infecting an innocent bystander, like the grocery store cashier, the pharmacist, or someone stocking shelves,” Gov. Wolf said. “These people are keeping us alive by getting us the supplies we need. We owe it to them to do everything we can to keep them safe. Right now, that means wearing a mask.”For the most up-to-date information on COVID-19, Pennsylvanians should visit: https://www.pa.gov/guides/responding-to-covid-19/.View this information in Spanish here. SHARE Email Facebook Twittercenter_img April 03, 2020last_img read more

Lady Trojans Sweep Lady Lions

first_imgECVB faced Rushville last night in their home opener. All three teams won in straight sets.Varsity won with the scores of 25-11, 25-11 and 25-20.   ‘We started off strong with the first point of the game by three of our four seniors with a perfect pass by Disbro, perfect set by Gregg, and a powerful kill by Rosemeyer. That seemed to be the a common trend throughout the match. We dominated the first two sets, and it started with our passing. We passed a commanding 2.47 on serve receive which let us run whatever offense we wanted. Set three we just went through the motions. We let Rushville play with us point for point until 20-20 where we ended the match on a 5-0 run behind the serving of our other senior, Faith Fox. In set three we only passed 1.84 on serve receive and it showed with our lack of offense. The girls battled through enough to get the win.’ Trojans Coach Cassie Laker.      ECVB vs Rushville 8-27-19Varsity is now 4-2 on the season and 2-0 in EIAC. Next up: at Batesville on Thursday. JV starts at 5, varsity follows.  Tonight ECVB JV defeated the Rushville Lady Lions in two sets.‘As a team there were many areas of growth in tonight’s match, especially behind the serving line. Recently serving has been an area of emphasis for this squad for it has been of our struggle in the past few matches, but not tonight. Also, there were quite a few athletes who stepped up and were above their usual average. Rushville never gave up, we just happened to keep the scoring runs to a minimum. I am proud of tonight’s performance for I started to see discipline and girls understanding why we have been practicing/focusing on the little things.’ Trojans Coach Jose Andres.  ECVB JV is now 5-1 on the season and 2-0 in the EIAC. Next up, Batesville on Thursday.last_img read more

14-year-old Floridian survives anchor piercing his brain

first_imgA Florida teenager is lucky to be alive after part of a boat anchor went into his skull, impaling his brain.Caleb Bennett was fishing with his friends when an anchor fell off the boat and lodged in his head.The 14-year-old’s parents were vacationing in the Bahamas at the time and rushed home to see him, not knowing what to expect.He was taken to Johns Hopkins All Children’s Hospital, where the medical staff was stunned by his condition.Caleb was placed in a medically induced coma, and part of his skull was removed to allow his brain room to swell.His condition after he woke up was unclear to his family.They worried about whether teen would be able to walk or talk.However, he made a miraculous recovery within a week, and months later, it is although the accident never occurred.Caleb’s recovery from the freak accident is “one in 1,000,000,” according to his doctor.He told Inside Edition, his friends now call him “The Anchorman.”last_img read more