SOUTHWEST ASIA — The 386th Expeditionary Security Forces Squadron military working dog section opened a new sun shade training pavilion recently, ensuring a safer training environment for their canine partners.
Prior to installation, the K-9 teams performed repetitive training drills around the base in inclement weather and temperatures that reached into the 100’s during the summer months.
“When our dogs train without protection from the sun, the scorching ground burns their paws,” said, Tech. Sgt. Jason Fields, 386th ESFS MWD trainer, deployed from Davis-Monthan Air Force Base and native of Mesa, Ariz.
Fields said heat exhaustion and burned paws sustained by the dog’s leads to veterinary quarters which impedes on their mission readiness.
The sun shade was installed over a 14,000 square foot sandy training area to alleviate those injuries.
“There won’t be a work stop due to rain and temperatures reaching upward of 120 degrees,” said Master Sgt. Donald Ellison, 386th ESFS MWD kennel master, deployed from Peterson AFB and native of Yoder, Colo. “The dogs are more comfortable during training drills now.”
With sufficient square feet available for multiple handlers at once and taking only four months to fruition, the handlers believe it’s an ideal structure for the four legged warriors.
“It’s not only the accessibility, which allows more training and play,” said Senior Airman Angela Jones, 386th ESFS MWD handler, deployed from Nellis AFB, “but it’s darn comfortable for Chester.”