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A Different Sort of War Dog [Video]
Scenes from the life of a therapy dog deployed in Afghanistan
Hank on the job in Afghanistan.

Prepare for a double take in these videos from the Army’s 7th Mobile Public Affairs Detachment filmed in mid-April. A three-year-old Boston Terrier relaxes inside an armored vehicle defended by at least one visible gunner stationed in a hatch. He walks down dusty war-ravaged roads. Plays fetch and relaxes in sandbagged shelters.

How did this spunky, little pup end up here? His “therapy dog” vest is the key. Hank is a service dog deployed to Kunar Province, Afghanistan with Army psychologist Captain Katie Kopp as part of a new combat stress initiative. Hank is there to comfort the soldiers and help make Capt. Kopp more approachable.

I have mixed feelings watching Hank in a war zone. He looks so vulnerable in this context. But when I see and hear how the soldiers react to Hank and witness the nuts and bolts of his life (the b-roll)—plenty of stimulation, activities, interaction and play—I think his is a more engaged and meaningful existence than many dogs have here at home.

B-roll scenes from Hank’s deployment:

Interview with Capt. Katie Kopp, Brigade Psychologist, Co. C, 704 BSB, 4th Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division, and Sgt. Nahum Campos, Infantry Soldier, HHC 2-12 Infantry, 4th Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division:

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Lisa Wogan lives in Seattle and is the author of, most recently, Dog Park Wisdom.

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