Foundation to a Partnership
1st Heavy Brigade Combat Team, 1st Armored Division
FORWARD OPERATING BASE WARRIOR, KIRKUK, Iraq — Sgt. 1st Class Canto, a Patrol/Explosive Detection Dog, sits at his handlers feet, Staff Sgt. Larry Chartier, a Saranac, N.Y., native, with 230th Military Police Company, 95th MP Battalion 18th MP Brigade, and waits for his command.
Chartier just says, 'watch him' and immediately the dogs attention snaps to the volunteer bad guy, wearing a bite sleeve, who is moving aggressively towards the pair, a moment later Staff Sgt. Chartier says 'get him' and Canto is chasing the bad guy and defending his partner.
Soon after Canto grabs onto the bite sleeve, the bad guy gives up and Chartier's tells his partner to 'release' and then throws Sgt. 1st Class Canto what he was working for – a bright yellow tennis ball.
It is so easy to make Canto a happy dog, he is still a puppy, very playful and smart, my partner already knows he receives a reward for working, said a smiling Chartier.
Even though Canto is just working for his toy, his keen sense of smell and level of training makes him priceless to his fellow Soldiers.
"Sometimes I wish these Military Working Dogs knew how important they were to our mission," said Chartier.
Canto is the key to keeping Soldiers safe during a patrol, according to Chartier.
This MWD is able to pick-up on explosives during a patrol before the Soldiers go into a life-threatening zone.
When Canto does locate anything dangerous Chartier knows immediately.
"It shows the relationship we have I can tell when he has found something and he can tell if I need his protection in some way," said Chartier.
To get to this point it takes a lot of trust and respect for one another and even though the partners cannot hold a conversation with one another the trust and respect they have for each other is clear.
The relationship the two have can be credited a lot to their deployment, while deployed they train, sleep, eat and play together.
This relationship will continue to grow throughout the rest of their deployment to Forward Operating Base Warrior, while they assist the Soldiers of 1st Heavy Brigade Combat Team, 1st Armored Division, along with their Iraqi security force partners, in the search for explosive devices and the capturing of insurgents.