MARINE CORPS AIR GROUND COMBAT CENTER TWENTYNINE PALMS, Calif. -- Combat Center military policemen demonstrated the capabilities of their working dogs during the 3rd Annual Woof Walk at Pioneertown, Calif., April, 12, 2014.
The Woof Walk is an annual event designed to raise awareness for the Morongo Basin Humane Society by inviting animal lovers to participate in the walk. During the event, various contests were held as well as resource booths to get involved with the Humane Society, and demonstrations from the Committed Canine Dog Service and Marine Corps working dogs.
“It is always a great opportunity for us when we can get out into the community and demonstrate what our dogs are capable of,” said Cpl. Paul Kelley, military policeman, Headquarters Battalion. “The training is always two fold. We get to come out here and put on a good demonstration for the community, and we also get more training time with the dogs. In this field, repetition is important, and we are always training.”
The demonstration began with basic obedience commands to reassure the public that the dogs are well trained. It continued with a basic obstacle course to show the importance of physical fitness for the dog and the handler.
The final part of the demonstration displayed the dogs' bite work capabilities. The Marines equipped themselves with bite suits, and demonstrated various circumstances to the audience where the dogs would be needed to subdue a suspect.
“These dogs are truly fantastic,” said Daryll Thomann, retired K-9 police officer. “A lot of people don’t know the capabilities of these dogs and the hard work that goes into training them. I really enjoyed seeing the Marines put on the show.”
While the event is open to the public, this rendition was the first time Marines were invited to be a part of it.
90% of the adopted animals find new homes with Combat Center Marines and sailors, according to Mimi Mitz, president, Morongo Basin Humane Society.
“We wanted to invite them out here to do the demonstration to show our appreciation for what they do, as well as thank them for providing homes for our rescued pets,” Mitz said.
After the demonstration, Marines allowed the audience to wear various pieces of the bite gear to give them a better understanding of the weight and consistency of the gear.
“I think having the Marines here was a big hit with this event,” Mitz said. "It was the first time we invited them out, and the people really enjoyed their demonstration. We look forward to having the Marines out here again next year.”