Wednesday, July 22, 2009

In Honor of Primo, a New Orleans Police Dog

Today in New Orleans there was a memorial for Primo, a police dog who died on May 27th. He was left in a vehicle by his handler on an 88 degree day; he ripped the interior of the vehicle up, struggling to get out. The dog suffered a number of seizures, and heat shock. Primo’s temperature was 109.8 before he died. Primo’s handler has been transferred out of the K-9 unit. This is the third K-9 death in New Orleans this year. Now all three are under investigation. Here is a link to the story that has images of the car's interior from the Times Picayune ( warning disturbing images):

In Primo's honor I'm posting another story from Iraq on other service dogs.

To see a video dispatch Phin Percy Jr. and I created with John Snell for Fox 8, New Orleans click here

On March 5, 2009, on Camp Victory I met bomb-sniffing dog Rain, and his handler Corporal Perkins. Perkins had Rain run through the training course before bringing out the rest of the training dogs and their handlers. The dogs are trained to find IEDs (improvised explosive devices) without setting them off. Still, setting them off remains a threat to both the dog and the handler, as do snipers who try to eliminate them while they are on the job. Rain found 17 IEDs on his first deployment in Afghanistan. His work has saved countless lives.

The unit lost one team in Iraq. Seargant Cooper, another canine, and Corporal Wiens, his handler were killed by an IED on July 6, 2007. Copper's kennel was turned into a shrine. Cooper’s collar and Wien’s backpack, sit on top of the empty kennel, a reminder of the dangers the unit faces