Magazine article Army Reserve Magazine

Teaching Iraqi Canine Trainers in Baghdad

Magazine article Army Reserve Magazine

Teaching Iraqi Canine Trainers in Baghdad

Article excerpt

If you listen closely enough, you can hear the howls of several small animals emanating from inside an old jailhouse just behind a police station in downtown Baghdad. It's as if the animals are recalling the inhumane torture that once took place behind the prison's steel doors in rooms the size of walkin closets.

Now, those cells, sporting fresh coats of paint, are home to the new Iraqi canine corps - the latest recruits in the battle on terror. And Sgt. Emily Frasca, a police academy instructor with the 382nd Military Police (MP) Battalion, an Army Reserve unit from San Diego, California, is helping jumpstart the program.

Attached to the 18th MP Brigade in Iraq and part of Task Force 1st Armored Division, Frasca and the other Soldiers in her unit were teaching classes at the police academy in Baghdad when someone asked her to help with the canine unit. She jumped at the opportunity.

"I love working with dogs," said Frasca. "So, when they offered me the chance to be the liaison for the trainers and to coordinate with the 18th MP Brigade to get equipment for them, I saw an opportunity to share what I know and what I've learned."

The canine unit is progressing quickly. The Iraqi trainers are learning new methods of training, and the dogs are multiplying. One of the German shepherds recently gave birth to five pups. But that wasn't always the case.

Before the war, the canine unit was housed outside of Baghdad, where the trainers received very little support. They lacked the money to buy equipment and training manuals, and to have the dogs vaccinated. …

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