The Human Side of the Story

For the week ending 28 December 2002 / 23 Tevet 5763

Man's Best Friend Lives Up to His Name

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The reputation of the dog as "mans best friend" is being put to the test by "Pups for Peace". This organization, founded by U.S. Jews and the Israeli-based Golan Fund to help Israel defend itself against terrorist attacks, plans to provide a thousand trained dogs capable of detecting explosives.

The first 60 dogs underwent a two-month bomb detection course given by 20 Israeli trainers at a facility in Los Angeles before being shipped to Israel for an additional month-long course in the Golan Heights. The thousand mark will be reached by 2004 if the Israeli police and IDF still need them.

The idea is to deploy these trained pups in supermarkets, sports events and other public places throughout the country. They are capable of smelling an explosives source and indicating its location to their handlers. Although they are not trained to actually attack a suspected bomber, the information they provide in this way can save lives by alerting the military or police to the danger and thus preventing an explosion.

At a fundraising luncheon recently held in New York for this project, Governor George Pataki, who chaired the affair, was thrilled when a four-year old Labrador was named George. (It will actually be called by the Hebracized version of Gershon.) "I am delighted that this pup that will help ensure peace in Israel," said the Governor, "has been named after me."

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