U.S. troops brought dolphins to Iraq to locate underwater mines. The Brits brought their dogs, and a springer spaniel named Buster recently unearthed a huge hidden cache of arms that soldiers wouldn't otherwise have found. Buster's discovery was followed by the arrest of 16 Iraqis. Buster's haul included AK47 assault rifles, a pistol, six grenades with fuses, 10 more grenade fuses, 160 rounds of ammunition in magazines and 79 loose bullets, and bomb-making equipment. Suitcases full of cash, heroin and crack cocaine, as well as pro-Saddam literature, were also discovered.
His handler, Sergeant Danny Morgan, says, "The soldiers had found nothing so I unleashed Buster and sent him in. The rule is that the dog always goes first in case there are booby traps and I was obviously concerned for him as he started his search. Within minutes he became excited in a particular area and I knew he'd discovered something. The Iraqis we spoke to had denied having any weapons. But Buster found their arms even though they'd hidden them in a wall cavity, covered it with a sheet of tin then pushed a wardrobe in front of it. We'd never have found the weapons without him and they would still be a threat to our troops and the local population. I'm very proud of him.
"Dogs like Buster are recruited when they're aged one-to-three from unwanted pets centers...I trained him by teaching him to fetch weapons like guns and ammunition instead of sticks and balls. He loves his job simply because he thinks it's a game and obviously has no idea he's going into dangerous situations. I end up doing all the worrying because he's not only doing a job out here?he's my best friend. Buster is the only arms and explosives search dog working in Iraq right now and has been worth his weight in gold..."
Buster is so valuable to the army that he has even been given his own protective gear in case of chemical or biological attack. During Scud or gas attack warnings, he leaps into a special sealed pen equipped with an electric motor that pumps air through a gas mask filter.
To see a photo of Buster and his handler,click here.
Rupert Sheldrake has made a fascinating study of dogs who always seem to know when they're masters are coming home.
NOTE: This news story, previously published on our old site, will have any links removed.