Singapore Army Dog Handlers Bond With Canine Best Friends, Talk About Caring For Them
Many debate fiercely on the best assignment in National Service (NS). Some choices include clerk, the air force, air force clerk, and so on. But what about being a military dog handler?
In a video posted by Minister of Defence Ng Eng Hen, several handlers in the army’s Military Working Dog Unit (MWDU) spoke about their experience.
They talked about the work and play with their canine best friends, as well as about what they learned.
On a bittersweet note, one also discussed having to leave the doggos when they ORD.
Military dog handlers talk about their doggos
The Minister of Defence, Dr Ng, posted the video yesterday (3 Oct) to his Facebook page.
Several handler-dog pairs spoke up about their experiences. They included LCP Alexis Faquet and his black Labrador Retriever who specialises in narcotics detection.
There was also LCP Saraven Ravi and the muzzled Malinois Arras, who’s trained for protection.
Last but not least, PTE Muhammad Alang Fakhruddin showed his drug-sniffing Labrador Retriever, Fury.
The size and perhaps aggression of the dogs may prove the first anxiety-inducer for many viewers.
The handlers weren’t alone in this. For example, LCP Saraven Ravi shared about his initial challenges in getting used to the German Shepherds and Malinois.
Not only were they big, but humans have for generations bred aggravation and a protective instinct into the genes of protection dogs.
Thankfully, the lance corporal received help from his seniors and over time, he grew accustomed to Arras’ personality.
Handlers play with their military dogs too
Given the seriousness of the army, some may believe that the dogs, like the NSFs, are only there to work with the handlers.
LCP Alexis Faquet debunked this idea. He explained that the dogs required exercise and downtime, just like humans.
As such, the dog handlers played with the big fluffy boys and gals to keep their morale up. No doubt, the benefits were two-way as well.
PTE Muhammad Alang Fakhruddin spoke on a separate issue. As a Muslim, technically he isn’t supposed to touch dogs, which seems like a big obstacle for a dog handler.
Despite this hurdle, he clarified that Muslims could handle dogs for specific reasons like working with them.
However, he still had to adhere to cleansing rituals provided in the guidelines by the Majlis Ugama Islam Singapura (MUIS).
PTE Muhammad Alang then extended a message to any interested Muslims, telling them that they were welcome in the MWDU.
ORD a bittersweet experience for doggo handlers
Meanwhile, LCP Alexis Faquet lamented the challenge of completing their full-time national service, or their operationally ready date (ORD). While a joyous occasion for every NSF, the MWDU handlers will have to say goodbye to their best friends in the dogs come the end of their service.
He shared that the thought of ORD and the bittersweet end of the journey lingers constantly in his mind.
PTE Muhammad Alang Fakhruddin elaborated that the time in MWDU was his first time handling dogs. His time with the devoted doggos taught him much about responsibility and care.
LCP Saraven Ravi, however, considered being in MWDU a blessing. He said he met many amazing friends and formed a strong bond with many of the military dogs.
Ultimately, it seems working with military dogs is as enriching an experience as it is an adorable one!
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Featured image adapted from Ng Eng Hen on Facebook.
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