As many of you know I work a 3rd shift manufacturing job operating a machine that finishes aluminum and stainless steel components for medical instruments. There isn’t much to choose from on the radio at that time of day, but the other night I was pleased to hear an interview with Mike Ritland, former SEAL Team 3 member and author of “Trident K9 Warriors: My Tale From the Training Ground to the Battlefield with Elite Navy SEAL Canines.”
The first real job I ever had was at an animal hospital and kennel where I learned a great deal about both dogs and cats. I was 14 years old. It was here at this animal clinic that I learned how amazing man’s best friend can be–but nothing close to what I learned when I heard Mike Ritland’s story. It brought back a plethora of memories and moved me to the point of wanting to share his story with you.
Mike is a former SEAL who trains dogs for military and police duties, but also operates a retirement home for the dogs they are unable to place with caretakers upon their retirement. During the interview on Coast to Coast AM, Mike talked about training elite Navy SEAL dogs.
SEAL dogs are similar to other working dogs, but what sets them apart is their determination to perform this unique kind of work in the most unimaginably distracting environments. Detailing one incident, he described how a SEAL dog was shot at point blank range in the chest by an insurgent, yet still managed to subdue and hold on to his target until his SEAL the team operatives arrived to take control. The dog was then evacuated out via a medical helicopter and treated by a surgeon just like any other soldier. The dog subsequently recovered, and was actually redeployed. He is now retired and resides at Ritland’s K9 Warrior Foundation.
I thought you would appreciate the amazing effort that goes into the training of these truly phenomenal creatures and the incredibly honorable tasks that they perform. I salute them and their handlers.