Rebecca’s War Dog of the Week: Edy, the Rudy of bomb-sniffing canines
By Rebecca Frankel Best Defense chief canine correspondent At 56 lbs, Edy, a three-year-old Sable Shepherd, is small for his breed. He’s also the survivor of recent surgery to remove a cyst from one of his hind legs, but according to his handler Staff Sgt. Pascual Gutierrez Jr., you’d never know it. A relentless worker ...
By Rebecca Frankel
Best Defense chief canine correspondent
At 56 lbs, Edy, a three-year-old Sable Shepherd, is small for his breed. He’s also the survivor of recent surgery to remove a cyst from one of his hind legs, but according to his handler Staff Sgt. Pascual Gutierrez Jr., you’d never know it. A relentless worker with boundless energy, the “pint-sized” Edy is tough and was quick to get back to work — which is why Gutierrez likens his partner to Rudy.:
He has a big heart and never gives in or gives up. He’s very driven and it more than makes up for his size. He’s a pure threat now but if he had a little more weight on his side, he’d be a powerhouse.”
Edy and Gutierrez are part of Team Zabul, a unit comprised of multiple dogs and handlers from the Air Force, Army, and Navy based in Afghanistan. And while all the dogs at Forward Operating Base Laghman all live in a kennel together, Gutierrez takes good care of Edy — making sure he gets as much of life’s simple pleasures as possible — lots of walks and fun.
It didn’t take Edy long to adjust to his new surroundings after deployment — adapting to the new “weather, terrain and altitude changes ” by his third time out on patrol. And Edy, who, at different points is described as “a curious busybody” and a lover of fetch, is a force to be reckoned with — he can “identify at least 15 different scents that serve as explosive markers for bombs.”
Like so many other handler-canine duos we’ve come across, this working pair has grown very attached. The feeling is mutual and given the job they share, only heightened by the fact that Gutierrez is Edy’s first handler. “To Edy, I am a father figure,” Gutierrez says. But the trust and loyalty goes both ways:
I have worked with other dogs before who probably wouldn’t protect me if I got hurt out here,” Gutierrez said. “But with Edy, I know without a doubt he would protect me with his life.”
Thomas E. Ricks is a former contributing editor to Foreign Policy. Twitter: @tomricks1
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