Dogs of War Deploy Again and Again

GI Fido is seeing more time on the front lines in Iraq, Afghanistan
By Katherine Thompson,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 29, 2009 1:12 PM CDT
An Iraqi bomb-sniffing dog and his handler, left, walk on the Imams Bridge as a US Army soldier, right, stands guard before an opening ceremony in northern Baghdad, Iraq, Tuesday, Nov. 11, 2008.   (AP Photo/Khalid Mohammed)
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(Newser) – It's not just US troops making return tours of duty overseas: military canines are also seeing extra time at the front. The specialty bomb sniffers have seen their ranks swell since 2001, and with $15,000 price tags for their training and upkeep, are considered valuable assets, writes the Washington Post in a look at a service dog's life.

The canine soldiers' best defense is their noses, which can sniff out the bombs that most threaten troops. Trained to remain unfazed by gunfire and other sounds of warfare, some of the dogs learn stealth tactics as well. They aren't meant to be deadly weapons, thoug—these pooches are trained to bite and hold enemy combatants, but otherwise not to attack.