had taught Sentry, Patrol and the Drug Detector Course at Lackland AFB
(1971-1975). I had retrained many sentry dogs that had been placed in
patrol dog classes. I enjoyed training sentry dogs because they did not
have to have their spirit broken by adding a standoff.
I realized that the
patrol dog concept of controlled aggression was responsible for changing
the dog program. Standoff (FYI for any non-dog handlers reading this:
the handler commands the dog to come back without biting a perpetrator)
was the single most reason that placed dogs at bases that would have
never had sentry dogs.
Within a few years,
dogs went from being limited to SAC bases with nuclear weapons security
requirements, to being incorporated into bases' law enforcement
Anyway, getting back to
the story, I knew that the trainers at the section could use some extra
help, so I volunteered to work with the problem dogs. I scheduled the
training through the kennels on my time off and worked with 30 or 40 dog
teams. I briefed the kennelmaster on my progress, and he seemed
satisfied. I did not want to have good dogs killed just to be
After a few sessions, I
knew I had major problems with a few of the dogs. Copper was one of the
problem dogs, he was older, a bit slower, and a fast person could
probably outrun him. But, oh could he bite like an alligator! A1C
Marshall Swope, the handler would yell, "Out, No, Out", and
Copper would just squeeze his eyes shut tighter and bite even harder.
So, I talked to the kennelmaster and the vet about using a shock collar.
Both agreed to allow me to use an electric shock for corrections as long
as I was the person throwing the switch.
The electronics shop
made me a battery powered transformer, using a 6-volt lantern battery
that created a shock similar to a cattle prod. The parachute shop sewed
and riveted brass terminals on a leather collar. I ran wires down the
inside of a nylon 360 (a 360 inch leash used for attack training) to
carry the current to the terminals. I used it to break the extremely
overaggressive dogs with good results. If the dog disobeyed a command to
stop his attack, I would hit the switch when the handled yelled "
We put on quite a show
with various results. Some of the dogs would act like God had touched
them when they received electric corrections and pursued a close "Come-to-Jesus"
meeting with their handlers; others were confused and would associate
the pain with the decoy and just hit harder. I did not like shocking the
dogs; they were only doing what they had been repeatedly encouraged to
do for years. These dogs were more like sentry dogs than patrol dogs,
and they had my respect!
During this time, A1C
Paul Newman gave me the nickname "Dr. Frankendog" and drew a
cartoon on the blackboard of the kennel's break room. It depicted a dog
seated in an electric chair, strapped into headgear wired to a gigantic
switch with yours truly standing by ready to throw the juice. It was
hilarious! I wished I'd gotten a picture of it before someone erased it.
The political pressure
decreased and life went back to normal at Clark. Happily, no dogs were
sacrificed for political reasons. I heard some years later that Lackland
was using commercial shock collars on hardheaded dogs.
not to forget the stewardess, here's the rest of the story.
The Stretch 8 was
cordoned off and drug dog teams searched everybody and every item going
into the area. This stew would bitch and moan every flight and every
That first encounter,
she started up about how degrading it was to be searched by a dog and
would not cease and desist. Probst replied, "How do you think the
dog feels?" Well, things went downhill rapidly and the stew
escalated her verbal attacks.
A few months later,
this same stew had the misfortune of asking Sgt Cathy Moore, my wife now
of 23+ years and former fellow drug dog handler, "Want me to bend
over and spread my legs, too?" Cathy sweetly replied, "No,
thank you, dear, my dog doesn't need any!" The stew never opened
her mouth again when Cathy worked the Stretch 8...
probably be in the doghouse for telling this one:
Cathy and I had been in
country about 4 months when the hospital told her she was pregnant.
There were delays in finding her a desk job until an incident one night
in one of the aircraft maintenance barracks.
She and Mister 1S91,
were searching the place with SSgt Ed Joyner and Wolfe, and SrA Fran
Rice and Buck W171. All three dogs were very mild mannered and none had
much of a bite.
Mister alerted on a
room. Ed went back to the day room where there was an ongoing beer
party, to call the LE Desk and Legal for PC. The big guy assigned to the
room showed up and got into a door-shoving match with Cathy. (Mister was
no help, being a real mild mannered dog.) The drunks in the day room
heard the commotion and ran down the hall, shouting obscenities,
determined to "get the narc."
Ed dropped the phone
and ran behind with Wolfe, shouting to Cathy, "Kick it in!"
Well, Cathy's strong sense of self-preservation kicked in along with a
healthy surge of adrenaline and she obliged; and took the door
completely off the hinges. The guy ran out the back door onto the
balcony and Fran collared him.
LE backup arrived and
hauled off a bunch of drunk and disorderlies. The guy was apprehended
and his marijuana and paraphernalia were also confiscated.
The next day in staff
meeting, Capt Moore (no relation), LES Ops Officer, kicked off the
meeting when he turned to me and said, "I see that your pregnant
wife kicked in a door last night. I'll see about getting her that desk
job immediately!" (Note: everytime a handler did something he
approved of, it was, "Our drug dogs..." or, when he was
embarrassed, it was, "One of your dogs...")
Needless to say, I was
harassed to no end about that incident! Note that at that time, there
were a number of LE and K-9 women told they were pregnant but weren't;
sadly, Cathy was among them. The hospital lab was discovered to have a
twisted sense of humor and revenge for all the drug busts and barracks
searches. Today, however, the good news is that we a 16 year old
daughter with her mother's eyes and wicked sense of humor!
see; oh, here's another good one.
A1C JJ Davis and Max
Z123 went out to customs clear the then new F-15 touring PACAF bases to
show off the F-4 replacement. The test pilot was a Lt Col. The press,
wing commander, base commander and everybody and their dogs were there
to see this thing.
The colonel walked
right up to JJ and shoved his hand in Max's face and asked, "Does
he bite?" Max, being his usual dedicated, charming self, happily
obliged and bit his hand. The colonel yanked his hand up above his head
with his newly acquired appendage still attached. Max let go and grabbed
a quick nibble to the right kidney area, then proceeded to bite and hold
the good colonel's right buttock and tore the seat out of his flight
suit along with part of his drawers.
Capt Moore stopped me
in the hall and announced, "One of your dogs bit the F-15 test
Max, what a hero!
know there's a dog named Peter listed, but did anyone every mention "Peter,
Peter, the Handler Eater?" Gil Falcon had him on C Flt. This Peter
was an older dog slowing down with age and arthritis. If the decoy or
intruder was too far out of Peter's comfort range of running after them,
he'd stop the pursuit, growl loudly all the way back to Gil and try to
bite him instead!
following is a story that has a series of photos attached to it. They
can be found in the photos section under washout
A base photographer was
assigned to develop a series of K-9 photos for a PACAF seminar back at
Hickam AFB, Hawaii. He set up the photo shoot with the kennelmaster,
MSgt Billy Owens. He wanted to depict our working conditions and rugged
terrain we often went into on sweeps at Clark. He wanted a daytime shoot
so that conference personnel would better understand just what sort of
posts we worked.
Sgt Butch Guiterrez,
A1C Dave Frisby, his dog Baron and Prince (aka Fat Dog) and I went on a
sweep of FM Washout. Butch lead us in but gave up point after he got too
far ahead. He went way off up the trail to check something. We came
along and Prince alerted and lunged at him as we were next on the trail.
We came to a 4 to 5 ft
deep pool in the washout where the sides narrowed and we had to ford it
because there was no other way around. The bottom of the pool was very
rocky, so I had a difficult time keeping my footing. Thus, I was just
too darn slow for Fat Dog's comfort and he kept swimming around me. It
finally dawned on him to come back and hitch a ride! Hey, the ole boy
knew Mom would take care of him. I loved him dearly; he was the next
best thing to a child. I'd go anywhere with him on Clark.
We had to fish out the
photographer. He had gone ahead to the other side to set up for the shot
of us fording the washout. When Prince crawled up on my shoulders, the
guy was laughing so hard he lost his balance, slid down the bank and
lost one of his cameras in the water.
We climbed out onto the
other bank, crawled up a big split boulder and jumped across to the
other side of it. We dropped rocks down the chasm and never did hear any
hit the bottom. Perhaps it was an old volcanic lava tube.
When we finished our
sweep and photo shoot, we smelled awful! We went back to the kennels and
hosed off to no avail. I gave Prince a quick bath, then went home to get
a thorough scrubbing--no telling what was in that funky water! I came
back to check on Prince the next day and he still stank. So, I gave him
three shampoos that afternoon before I could rid him of Eaud de Washout!
No, Bill Sadler, it wasn't strawberry scented either!