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Our very own Canine Commando Brigade is an epitome of valour and selfless service. The Indian army is a proud holder of 1200+ dogs that include superbly trained German Shepherds, Labrador Retrievers and Belgian Shepherds. 36 dogs (24 Labradors and 12 German Shepherds) of these four legged Brave heart Battalion along with their trainers are selected from the Meerut Remount and Veterinary Corps (RVC) training centre to be part of the forthcoming Republic Day Parade on Jan 26th. The magnanimous march will be witnessed after a hiatus of 26 years where the Army Dog squad will walk down the Rajpath along with the soldiers. A vigorous practise regimen is being followed thrice a day from the last four months in an attempt to put up a splendid show.
According to Captain Anurag Boruah from RVC, a setting similar to Rajpath has been created for the practise sessions in order to acquaint the dogs with the atmosphere and noise that they would find on the ‘D day’. Dog behaviour is a crucial parameter in guiding the selection process for an event of this stature and so is the effective control exerted by the personnel over his four legged subordinate.
RVC was established on March 1 in the year 1960, to impart basic as well as higher training in tasks such as mine detection, sniffing bombs & explosives, tracking, guarding and assaulting to the dogs and their handlers. This college boasts of One Shourya Chakra, six Sena Medals, One hundred & forty two COAS Commendation Cards, six VCOAS Commendation Cards and four hundred & forty eight GOC-in-C Commendation Cards won by the canine students and their trainers. This institution encapsulates its beliefs in its ‘motto’ of ‘Pashu Seva Asmakam Dharm’.
Amrendra Kumar who handles Kako the German Shepherd is of the viewpoint that a dog can never let its master/friend down whether it is a parade or a life threatening mission.
The army maintains a file on each of these four legged military personnel. These files preserve information such age of retirement, career graph and performance during various rescue operations, CI (counter insurgency), CT (counter terrorism), avalanche rescue and unearthing top secret hideouts. After reaching 8 years of age these military machos are sent for refresher courses every six months. If the trainer notices signs of aging getting in the way of performance then the option of retiring the dog is exercised. In Meerut, an old age home for the veteran dogs was started three months back.
Right to information (RTI) Petition brought to light last year the unkind practice of the Indian Army euthanizing the dogs, horses and mules after their retirement. Though, the present scenario presents a bright picture with the military putting a stop on killing of the ageing animals excepting the ones suffering from incurable diseases or injuries. A Public interest litigation (PIL) was introduced last year, following this development the Government in September informed the Delhi High Court that within a period if six months it will come out with a progressive Rehabilitation policy.
Let us take a leaf out of military restoration schemes followed by nations such as United Sates and France. In an effort to laud the service imparted by these silent warriors, a gallantry medal was awarded to a police dog killed in the blood curdling Paris attacks last year. In a similar account back home, sacrifice of the highest form was made by a four year old Labrador named Mansi and her Master Bashir Ahmed members of the Territorial Army while putting up a brave front fighting infiltrators in the Tangdhar sector, the high altitude area along the line of control.
Let us all pledge to offer our kindness and assistance till the last breadth of these four legged heroes courageously performing their duties. A life of reverence is a basic right to be enjoyed by each and every soldier whether two or four legged, no discrepancy should be made.
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