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Every Day Is A Dog Day For Long Island Army Vet Who Trains Explosives Detection Animals – CBS New York


NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — A tweet from President Donald Trump put a Delta Force dog in the spotlight this week.

The dog helped track down the terrorist Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi at his hideout in Syria — just another day on the job for a soldier’s best friend.

Every day’s a dog day for Army vet Tom Hickey, who trains and handles dogs for MSA Security. The explosives detection animals keep New York City and its suburbs safe.

When Trump tweeted about the Belgian Malinois that helped Army Special Forces eliminate the world’s most wanted terrorist, Hickey could appreciate the presidential praise better than most, given his multiple tours of duty in Iraq with canine comrades in arms.

“Their bite force, speed, their vision, their hearing, it’s all stuff that put together make this incredible animal that can do what this dog did the night of the raid,” Hickey told CBS2’s Tony Aiello.

The Pentagon says the Delta Force dog chased al-Baghdadi down a dead-end tunnel where he killed himself by detonating a suicide vest. The dog was trained to chase, bite and hold. The training is no walk in the dog park for the target, who wears a bite suit.

“Doing bite work, you’d go home after wearing the bite suit [and you’d have] bruises, welts, guys have broken bones through the bite suits, so yeah, there’s some force there,” Hickey said.

He says military dogs are treated and equipped as elite members of the team.

“Anything they make for a soldier/handler in that atmosphere, they make for dogs – ear protection, eye protection, Kevlar body protection, foot protection, it’s all there,” Hickey said.

Although Trump tweeted out the dog’s picture, he said the dog’s name remains classified.

“The information of that dog is as top secret as the gentlemen who were involved in it,” Hickey said.

Hickey says almost any mission has a greater chance of success if a properly trained and handled dog is involved.

“They’ll never look back at the handler and go, you want me to go in there? It’s always, I’m going and I’ll let you know if it’s safe,” he said.

When a soldier needs a hand, they lend a paw.

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