FORT DRUM, N.Y. (WWNY) - They are a weapon with paws. We meet some working military dogs on Fort Drum, see what these animals do and how they bond with their handlers.
Working military dogs like Lee and Condor help with military police patrols on Fort Drum and secret service missions.
The dogs can also be deployed to places like Afghanistan with their handlers. Staff Sergeant Robert Citrullo says the presence of dogs is important in dangerous situations.
"A lot of the time when we show up and the dog gets out of the car, whatever is going on in that situation kind of calms down pretty quickly," said Citrullo, kennel master, 8th Military Working Dog Detachment, 91st Military Police Battalion.
But getting the dogs ready for their jobs takes training. Each K-9 is certified every year in obedience, detecting odors, and apprehending suspects. After hours of hard work the handlers are able to trust their dogs.
The relationship military working handlers have with their K-9s goes beyond work.
“We’re battle buddies. It’s called battle buddies. We are best friends. I love it, he loves me, it’s perfect,” said Specialist Kassan Santiago, 8th Military Working Dog Detachment, 91st Military Police Battalion.
Sometimes those best friends even get to go home with their handlers. Citrullo was able to adopt his dog, Uran, after he was retired.
“We went on multiple deployments. He saved me and members of the team I was with multiple times. It was great bringing him home and for the time we had together,” he said.
For the handlers who are close to their dogs, that time spent together will never be enough.