In days when dark clouds, of terrorism and security threats, tend to loom over our heads more frequently, reinforcement is in demand. And the proud, loyal and highly disciplined four-legged jawans are here to put their best paw forward.
The Commanding Officer of the NTCD, BSF, Tekenpur, Dr. MR Popli says “As incidents of crime increases, these dogs have become more useful and popular because we know their capacity to pick up supersonic sounds and detect smells. They are also handy, mobile and disciplined.”
At the National Training Centre for Dogs (NTCD) of the Border Security Force, a world class institution, training is being imparted for dogs in tracking, explosives detection, narcotics detection and search and rescue. The NTCD puts them through an intensive and thorough workout from when the pups are only 6-8 weeks old, for a period of 24 weeks, except for trackers, which lasts for 36 weeks. The training includes marching, learning to obey orders, jumping through rings, with or without fire, picking up different scents and assault.
Breeds such as German Shepards, Labradors, Dobermans and more recently the Cocker Spaniel are selected not only for their ability to pick up supersonic sounds and varied scents, but also for their discipline. A healthy meal is just as important for these dogs, which consume dalia, milk, chicken and vegetables. Their diet, like everything else, is altered only on the recommendation of a veterinarian.
Currently, there are about 72 dogs in service under the Delhi Police Dog Squads, like the one at Model Town police station, but their service is invaluable to RPF, BSF, CRPF and other security forces; even anti-naxalite forces are keeping these dogs for infantry patrol. Unlike before, when you were likely to come across one squad in the capital of a state, dog squads are now being established in various locations to increase mobility and access. Delhi police spokesperson, Rajan Bhagat, said for the Commonwealth games specifically they had recruited at least 75 dogs.
But it’s not all work and no play… apart working out and eating a wholesome meal, dogs such as Rosy, the brown Labrador, and her handler have taken part in various meets, winning medals for outstanding display of olfactory and sound detection.
In instances of valor, we were told of a particular case involving a dog named Bholu, who was deployed to nab a person, in a case of attempted molest and rape of a personnel’s wife;
There were two pieces of evidence – a dari and mobile, which had been mutilated by the offender. After bholu was given the scent, he had managed to catch the culprit.
The dogs retire at the age of 10 years, but sometimes they continue till they turn 12. After retirement, the dog is donated to NGO’s, like Friendicoes, who then put the dog up for adoption. The handler is then given responsibility of a new recruit. But with these guards on vigil, it’s better not to bark up the wrong tree.