SEAL Dog Tells the Story of Military Working Dogs

by Patrick Mahaney on December 10, 2015

This article originally appeared on Dr. Mahaney’s Pet-Lebrity News column on as SEAL Dog Tells the Story of Military Working Dogs

army-dogs-veterans-day.lgVeterans Day is an annual commemoration of military servicemen and women who have served and continue to serve in protecting our country and society in general, and this year, I decided to review and intriguing documentary about military service members and their canine companions for my Pet-Lebrity News column.

This Veteran’s Day, I partook in a screening of SEAL Dog, a new documentary sharing the story of Navy SEAL Trevor Marshes and his working dog, Chopper. The Smithsonian Channel premiered SEAL Dogon Veteran’s Day and this special airs throughout the rest of November.

According to the press release for SEAL Dog, “On the surface, they appear to be ordinary dogs, but these canines have a secret identity. They are the Pentagon’s stealth warriors, with special training. SEAL Dog is an intimate look at one of these astonishing animals, Chopper, and his partner, American war hero Trevor Maroshek, who have formed an unbreakable bond, on and off the battlefield. For the last 8 years, they have been inseparable–trained together, fought together, even surf together. They’ve saved each other’s lives. Now in retirement, Chopper works as a therapy dog, helping Trevor heal from the psychological and physical wounds of war. Trevor founded SEAL Dog Foundation to provide veterans with these K-9 superheroes as service dogs.”

Some additional intriguing factors of Trevor and Chopper’s story and the documentary include:

 - Trevor was deployed 4 times as part of special ops team and helped develop the SEAL’s first canine combat unit.

- Chopper saved Trevor and his special forces team from an ambush in Afghanistan.

- Vice President Joe Biden appears throughout film. He met with Trevor and Chopper last year at the White House. In SEAL Dog, Biden says, “these dogs have saved hundreds and hundreds of lives. They’re amazing animals, and there’s a lot of people home today, healthy, because of a dog.”

- SEAL dogs are trained in 5 areas of expertise: explosive detection, tracking search and rescue, laser target acquisition, sixth sense training and bite work. They can fast-rope out of helicopters, swim long distances and more.

- Now retired, Chopper is a therapy dog helping Trevor to heal from psychological and physical war wounds.

In addition to SEAL dogs, I am intrigued by all working dogs. I recently reviewed the canine-centric movie Max, which features the story of a remarkable canine who returns from the Middle East to find a home with the family of his handler.

Service dogs come in so many shapes, sizes and occupations. My alma mater, the University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine, opened the Penn Vet Working Dog Center in 2012. I had the opportunity to tour the facility the year it opened and documented it on YouTube. These dogs are remarkably skilled at their jobs and their roles in bettering society are so important.

How do you commemorate Veterans Day?  Does it involve a service animal?

Check out some clips of military dogs on YouTube:

Remarkable: This SEAL Dog Prevented a Deadly Disaster

Amazing Archival Footage of Parachuting Military Dogs

Photo: Bibiphoto via Shutterstock

Thank you for reading this article.  Your constructive comments are welcome (although I may not respond).
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Copyright of this article (2015) is owned by Dr Patrick Mahaney, Veterinarian and Certified Veterinary Acupuncturist. Republishing any portion of this article must first be authorized by Dr Patrick Mahaney. Requests for republishing must be approved by Dr PatrickMahaney and received in written format.
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