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Archive for the ‘K9’ Category

Run, Walk or March to Help Those Who Fought for Our Freedom

Sunday, June 20th, 2021

July 4 Virtual 5K supports American Humane’s lifesaving Pups4Patriots™ program

WASHINGTON, D.C. — This Fourth of July, Americans have a new way to celebrate our nation’s freedom.   In addition to the usual frankfurters, fireworks and fun that make up so much Independence Day fanfare, one organization is asking people to lace up their sneakers and run, walk or even march to support those who have served our country and sacrificed so much to keep it free.

American Humane’s national Pups4Patriots 5K is a virtual weekend-long event, raising funds to train lifesaving service dogs for veterans coping with Post-Traumatic Stress (PTS) and Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI). Patriotic participants can show their solidarity with America’s veterans by walking, jogging or running at their leisure over the Fourth of July weekend. Participants can register online at www.AmericanHumane.org/P4P5K.

Research shows that specially trained PTS service dogs can reduce stress and anxiety levels, mitigate depression, ease social reintegration, provide comfort and restore confidence to affected veterans. There are many obstacles standing in the way of veterans in need of service dogs, however, including long waiting lists and exorbitant costs, often upwards of $30,000 per service dog. American Humane’s Pups4Patriots™ program pairs dogs in search of forever homes with veterans in need. The two are trained together at no cost to the veteran.

American Humane is the country’s first national humane organization and a top-rated charity that has been supporting the U.S. military, military families and military animals for more than 100 years. In addition to the nearly one billion animals it saves, shelters, feeds and protects around the world each year, American Humane brings home retired war dogs and reunites them with their handlers, trains lifesaving service dogs for veterans with PTS and TBI and helps provide critical healthcare to our K-9 warriors.

“American Humane is committed to putting healing leashes into the hands of more veterans in need,” said Dr. Robin Ganzert, president and CEO and president of American Humane. “This virtual event will serve as a rallying point to bring us together to provide veterans in need with the healing power of our four-legged friends.”

Participants can register at www.AmericanHumane.org/P4P5K.

AT&T Launches Animal Assisted Therapy for First Responders

Sunday, June 20th, 2021

Man’s Best Friend’ Comes to FirstNet: AT&T Launches Animal Assisted Therapy Initiative to Further Health & Wellness for America’s First Responders

30+ “ROG the Dog” Therapy Animals Stationed Nationwide to Deploy Following Emergencies like Hurricanes, Wildfires and Man-Made Disasters

What’s the news? In advance of the 2021 storm season, FirstNet®, Built with AT&T* – the nation’s only network built by public safety, for public safety – is introducing “ROG the Dog” animal assisted therapy to support public safety on the front lines. This new initiative builds off of the launch of the FirstNet Health & Wellness Coalition and reinforces our commitment to Be There for America’s first responders by further supporting the health and well-being of those who serve their communities each and every day.

Why is this important? Compared to the general population, first responders experience higher rates of depression, PTSD, burnout, anxiety and other mental health issues.1 In law enforcement, one study found a more than 20 year difference in life expectancy compared to the average American male.2 uIn addition, it’s estimated 20-25% of all first responders experience post-traumatic stress.3 Therapy dogs are proven to have a positive impact on mental and physical health. Studies have shown that interacting with animals can improve coping and recovery, enhance morale, decrease stress, and reduce the effects of PTSD and emotional distress.4 And as public safety’s partner, we have a responsibility unlike any other wireless carrier to deliver for the first responder community. That’s why we’ve gone beyond our commitment to build and operate FirstNet and are providing this unique type of support to keep them mission ready.

What is ROG the Dog? Affectionately named after the FirstNet Response Operations Group (ROG) – the team led by former first responders that guides the deployment of the FirstNet fleet of dedicated deployable network assets – ROG the Dog is actually a fleet of trained Labradoodles who specialize in animal assisted therapy for first responders.  We’re collaborating with Global Medical Response (GMR) to provide the therapy dog services, which are especially meant for times of crises following natural or man-made disasters.  GMR chose Labradoodles as their therapy dog breed because of their temperament, they are hypoallergenic, and well suited to providing calm and care in the middle of chaos. The ROG the Dog initiative is currently comprised of over 30 animals located across the U.S.

What is the FirstNet Response Operations Program? To strengthen public safety’s command and control of their network, we launched the FirstNet Response Operations Program in 2018. This program aligns with Homeland Security’s National Incident Management System with a focus on life safety, incident stabilization and property conservation. With FirstNet, public safety agencies have access to a dedicated, nationwide fleet of 80+ land-based and airborne portable cell sites, like FirstNet One – all at no additional charge. The deployable network assets are designed to keep FirstNet subscribers connected to the information they need, no matter where their mission takes them. This allows first responders to make rescues, communicate and coordinate their emergency response, or aid in recovery, even in the hardest hit areas or most remote parts of the country.

When public safety calls upon the FirstNet fleet for additional support, the FirstNet Response Operations Group works with the agency to assess the situation and either deploy an asset, or identify and provide alternate solutions that could better serve public safety – such as expediting network restoration, quickly turning-up indoor coverage, and now, providing therapy dog services following a crisis. So far this year, public safety has requested support more than 125 times for planned and emergency events covering everything from COVID-19 vaccination centers to winter storms.

How can public safety request ROG the Dog? Agencies on FirstNet can request ROG the Dog in the same way they request an asset from the FirstNet fleet. And just like the fleet, ROG the Dog is available at no additional charge. Simply, call 1-800-574-7000 or contact their FirstNet Solutions Consultant and the Response Operations Group team will work with you to determine if your request meets the requirements for therapy dog services.

What is FirstNet? FirstNet is the only nationwide, high-speed broadband communications platform dedicated to and purpose-built for America’s first responders and the extended public safety community. Shaped by the vision of Congress and the first responder community following the 9/11 terrorist attacks, FirstNet stands above commercial offerings. It is built with AT&T in public-private partnership with the First Responder Network Authority (FirstNet Authority) – an independent agency within the federal government. With more than 16,000 public safety agencies and organizations subscribed – accounting for more than 2.2 million connections nationwide5 – the FirstNet network is providing first responders with truly dedicated coverage and capacity when they need it, unique benefits like always-on priority and preemption, and high-quality Band 14 spectrum. These advanced capabilities help fire, EMS, law enforcement and more save lives and protect their communities.

Where can I find more information? For more about the value FirstNet is bringing to public safety, check out FirstNet.com. And go here for more FirstNet news.

1 Purvis, M., Fullencamp, L. & Docherty, M. (2020). Animal Assisted Therapy on Law Enforcement Mental Health: A Therapy Dog Implementation Guide. Bowling Green University.

www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4734369

www.samhsa.gov/sites/default/files/dtac/supplementalresearchbulletin-firstresponders-may2018

4 Tedeschi, P. and Jenkins, M. (2019). Transforming Trauma: Resilience and Healing through our connections with animals.  Purdue University Press.

5 As of April 2021.

Robot Dogs Arrive at Tyndall AFB

Wednesday, March 31st, 2021

TYNDALL AIR FORCE BASE, Fla. (AFNS) —

The first official semi-autonomous robot dogs were delivered to Tyndall Air Force Base March 22 for integration into the 325th Security Forces Squadron.

The purpose of the Quad-legged Unmanned Ground Vehicles, or Q-UGVs, is to add an extra level of protection to the base. The robot dogs, designed by Ghost Robotics and Immersive Wisdom, are the first of their kind to be integrated onto a military installation and one of many innovation-based initiatives to begin at Tyndall AFB, coined the “Installation of the Future.”

“As a mobile sensor platform, the Q-UGVs will significantly increase situational awareness for defenders,” said Mark Shackley, Tyndall AFB Program Management Office security forces program manager. “They can patrol the remote areas of a base while defenders can continue to patrol and monitor other critical areas of an installation.”

Features applied to the robot dogs allow for easy navigation on difficult terrains. The robot dogs can operate in minus 40-degree to 131-degree conditions and have 14 sensors to create 360-degree awareness. They are also equipped with a crouch mode that lowers their center-of-gravity and a high-step mode that alters leg mobility, among other features.

Tyndall AFB’s Program Management Office, the 325th SFS, the 325th Civil Engineer Squadron, Air Force Research Laboratory, communications and other organizations have been working since July 2020 to ensure the Q-UGVs are assembled properly before reaching Tyndall AFB. The installation is considered an ideal base to host the new robot dogs with its ongoing rebuild.

“Tyndall (AFB) is a perfect test base as it was deemed ‘The Installation of the Future,’” said Master Sgt. Krystoffer Miller, 325th SFS operations support superintendent. “Across the base, every squadron has been pushing the envelope of how we do things and expanding our optics of what is possible. One huge attraction piece of the robot dogs is that it’s highly mobile and with the amount of construction we will face over the next few years, it helps us maintain and increase our security posture.”

This new technology has the capability to revolutionize the way base security operates. Tyndall AFB is expected to set the benchmark for the rest of the Defense Department when it comes to Q-UGV usage.

“I can say that there is definitely a lot of interest in the capabilities of the technology,” Miller said. “I’m hopeful that other units will see some of the successes at Tyndall (AFB) and will continue to explore the use of non-conventional tactics.”

By Airman 1st Class Anabel Del Valle, 325th Fighter Wing Public Affairs

Air Force Security Forces Center to improve US government-wide working dog programs

Sunday, March 14th, 2021

JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO-LACKLAND, Texas (AFNS) —

The Air Force Security Forces Center-led Government Working Dog Category Intelligence Team aims to improve the cost, process and procurement of government working dogs across 14 federal agencies.

The team recently submitted the Working Dog Category Intelligence Report, which looked into the requirements of maintaining working dogs within the Department of Defense, Department of State, Department of Homeland Security and the Department of Justice, in an effort to identify gaps and opportunities, recommend more effective and efficient sourcing strategies, close gaps between current practices and share government and industry best practices.

Scott R. Heise, team lead and director of Air Force Security & Protection Category Management’s Program Management Office for AFSFC, said “The report identified some crucial gaps, such as the procurement process.”

“All of us have the same need for working dogs, but the way we source them is very different,” Heise said. “Even our requirements are different and this inconsistency makes it difficult for the vendors to try to keep up and maintain a supply of high-quality working dogs. Simple things, like the age of the dog or the type of socialization it gets prior to delivery, present challenges for the vendors.”

“If all the agencies give vendors one integrated demand forecast, then the vendors can develop a better plan to meet our needs and satisfy the demand,” Heise added.

“The improved procurement process will allow Air Force Defenders the ability to better manage their MWD programs, making them healthier and stronger at the tactical, operational and strategic levels,” said Master Sgt. Steven Kaun, AFSFC Military Working Dog program manager.

“This streamlined process will pair up more canines with more handlers across the Air Force and allow garrison, and even up to combatant commanders, to have more assets on hand to accomplish their missions,” Kaun said. “And it also helps give some of our older, hard-working dogs a much deserved, timely retirement.”

In addition to the procurement process, the report provided six recommendations to improve the GWD program:

1. Establish an annual purchase forecast to both the contiguous United States and outside-CONUS vendors, which will help with the breeding and preparation process

2. Implement acquisition best practices to guide agencies during the procurement process

3. Provide the Customs and Border Protection Agency opportunities to work with OCONUS vendors, which will give the agency more options to source working dogs

4. Establish a small business breeder communication plan to help develop a larger U.S. vendor base

5. Build standardized U.S. government-wide working dog travel requirements for airlines

6. Develop a national emergency response plan for explosive detection working dogs

“What we expect from these recommendations is continued growth and maturation of the working dog program not only for the Air Force, but all 14 agencies,” Heise said. “We also see great potential to build the U.S. industrial base for government working dogs and ensure the participation of small businesses, and advance the goals of category management.”

Category management is an approach the federal government is implementing to help standardize procurement functions and share best practices across its agencies in the hopes of providing savings, better value, and efficiency. It is divided into 10 categories.

The AFSFC originally started a Category Intelligence Report on the Air Force-led DoD Military Working Dog program, but Heise saw opportunities to look beyond the services and include other federal agencies.

“Once we started, we saw how closely TSA worked with DoD on Lackland AFB, so I recommended to the Federal Category Manager that we make the CIR a government-wide effort,” Heise said. “She agreed and assigned me as the Government-wide Working Dog Team lead for the Security and Protection category.”

The newly-formed multi-agency team then researched and presented the six recommendations in the final Category Intelligence Report to Jaclyn Rubino, the government-wide Security & Protection Category manager. Rubino approved all recommendations and teams will now be assembled to create a category execution plan for each.

“This is the Air Force’s first interagency category management and Category Intelligence Report effort, and it’s an honor to be part of the team that will not only bring change to the Air Force, but other federal agencies as well,” Heise said. “I feel it speaks to the Security Forces Center’s mission, but on a larger, cross agency scale – to train, equip and manage program execution and provide expertise, and drive integration, innovation and advancement of Security Forces mission sets.”

Story by By Malcolm McClendon, Air Force Installation and Mission Support Center Public Affairs

Photo by Airman 1st Class Jason W. Cochran

You Never Know Where They’ll Show Up – K9 Edition

Monday, March 8th, 2021

Cody sports some SSD morale while on duty.

Stay safe!

New USAF Defender SUVs Provide Cooler, Smoother Ride for Canines

Thursday, January 28th, 2021

JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO-LACKLAND, Texas (AFNS) —

The Air Force Security Forces Center’s vehicle program delivered the first of new military working dog patrol vehicles to Robins Air Force Base, Georgia, as part of their initiative to modernize Defender equipment across the Air Force.

The improvements from previous patrol vehicles is the result of AFSFC’s vehicle program’s input to the Federal Service Law Enforcement Vehicle Equipment Standardization initiative and is focused on keeping MWD handlers and canines mission-ready.

Security Forces members at Robins learned about the vehicle “hot dog” system, which automatically kicks in when the interior gets too hot for the canines. The full-size sport utility vehicles also have a more spacious interior that gives the dogs a more comfortable ride.

“These new vehicles are definitely an upgrade,” said Staff. Sgt. Matthew Cerulli, MWD handler with the 78th Security Forces Squadron. “I think the best thing is the ‘hot dog’ system, which, in case of an emergency, we have to leave our dog in the vehicle and it gets too hot, an alarm will go off, the windows will roll down and the A/C will crank on to help keep the canines cool.

“However, I think the dogs’ favorite thing is the additional room. We have some large canines and in this new vehicle they can get up and stretch out as needed,” Cerulli added.

“AFSFC’s Vehicle Program seeks efficiencies in vehicle procurement, decreases redundancies and streamlines processes to improve law enforcement readiness,” said Master Sgt. Michael Roth, Security Forces vehicle program manager at AFSFC.

Prior to the FEDSLEVES program, units sourced their own funds to purchase the necessary equipment, which required local vendors to upfit vehicles after they arrived at the installation.

“This program provides security forces units with vehicles that are standardized with pre-installed equipment packages,” Roth said. “We also provide funding for (other) equipment in these vehicles, allowing them to go on patrol immediately. We’re saving the units $17,700 per patrol vehicle and $19,500 per MWD patrol vehicle, so we’re saving the unit both time and money.”

Defenders at Robins AFB and their canines are rolling out in these ready-to-go SUVs.

“These vehicles are a big step forward in keeping our mission ready here at Robins Air Force Base,” said Tech. Sgt. Seth Wilson, 78th SFS kennel master. “Our mission, along with the military working dogs, is to keep everyone on base safe, and these new vehicles allow us to focus more on accomplishing that.”

Additional improvements include a radio prep package, which allows operators to plug and play their current radio systems, an upgraded emergency lighting and public address system, and increased weapons storage in the rear cargo area.

“These new MWD vehicles are a product of the hard work of the Air Force Security Forces Center’s Vehicle Program team to modernize the fleet and keep Defenders and their canines mission ready,” Roth said.

Security Forces units can expect to receive the new vehicles as their current ones reach their end-of-life cycle, Roth added.

Story by Malcolm McClendon, Air Force Installation and Mission Support Center Public Affairs

Photos by Joseph Mather

GHOST K9 CAMERA SYSTEM – Mobile Ad Hoc Network Enabled from Tactical Support Equipment

Monday, January 25th, 2021

The NEW Ghost K9 Camera (MANET K9 Camera) from Tactical Support Equipment Inc. is housed in a Waterproof Enclosure. The system now incorporates a selectable Color Day/Night Camera or High Resolution Thermal Camera. The Infrared Illuminator is now controlled by the Day/Night camera sensor, so it is able to brighten or dim the Illuminator as required, which saves overall battery life. The Thermal Camera operates at a full frame rate, which produces no lag in video. With selectable White Light and Infrared Strobe Light. The Ghost K9 camera is GPS enabled as well.

The Ghost K9 Camera is viewed and controlled by a K9 Plug-In for the Android Tactical Assault Kit (ATAK), which is run on Android Device. User can view and record video and view K9 Camera and K9 Handler location on a map with ATAK.

The Ghost K9 Camera now operates on the Persistent Systems Wave Relay® Mobile Ad Hoc Networking (MANET) System. The Ghost K9 Camera operates as a part of the Wave Relay® Ecosystem. User can select between 10-Watt L-Band and S-Band Radio Modules. C-Band Radio Modules are also available on request. Security of the link is ensured by Crypto Modes: AES256 Encryption and SHA-256 HMAC.

www.tserecon.com/products/k-9-camera-kit-ghost-mobile-ad-hoc-network-enabled

New Book Shares True Stories of Veterans Living with PTSD and the Unwavering Support They Received From Their Service Dogs

Tuesday, December 15th, 2020

Author Christine Hassing brings awareness to the level of healing service dogs bring to those living with trauma in ‘Hope Has A Cold Nose’

BLOOMINGDALE, Mich. – Statistics show that twenty-two U.S. military veterans commit suicide per day. This alarming issue inspired author, mentor and inspirational speaker Christine Hassing to learn more about the experiences of veterans suffering with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and military sexual trauma (MST). She soon discovered the remarkable impact service dogs played in their journey towards healing and recovery. Wanting to share their perspective, she collaborated with twenty-three veterans and compiled their unique stories in her recently published book, “Hope Has A Cold Nose.”  This incredible collection of true tales conveys how service dogs make the difference for those reintegrating themselves into civilian life.

While earning her master’s degree, Hassing’s path intersected with a veteran and his service dog. After listening to their story, she knew that she wanted to spotlight the struggles of fellow veterans like him who are healing from trauma with the support of their furry friend. From sensing a nightmare and waking a veteran before terror takes hold, to placing a comforting paw on someone’s shoulder to ward off a panic attack, these dogs provide immeasurable support day and night.

Each chapter shares the story of a different human-canine pair as they explore their life changing relationship. The compelling testimonies from each and every storyteller in the book reminds readers of the importance of compassion and community during the recovery process for veterans.

“It is my hope that the stories within this book can raise awareness about service dogs as a healing modality for those journeying with PTSD,” says Hassing. “and to inspire those who are struggling to not lose their will to live.”

An inspiring read, “Hope Has A Cold Nose” showcases the holistic healing power of canines. Filled with extraordinary stories of resilience, compassion, survival, hope and recovery, this book is an unforgettable look at how animals can help their human counterparts heal from the deepest emotional wounds.

“Hope Has A Cold Nose”

By Christine Hassing

ISBN: 9781982255282 (softcover); 9781982255305 (hardcover); 9781982255299 (electronic)

Available at the Balboa Press Online Bookstore, Amazon and Barnes & Noble