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The San Francisco Sheriff’s Department demonstrates their dogs ability to search and locate bomb components and drugs during the Bark at the Park event Oct. 10, as part of San Francisco Fleet Week 2015. SFFW 15’ is a week-long event that blends a unique training and education program, bringing together key civilian emergency responders and Naval crisis-response forces to exchange best practices on humanitarian assistance disaster relief with particular emphasis on defense support to civil authorities.

Photo by Cpl. Joshua Murray

Man’s best friend demonstrates intelligence during San Francisco Fleet Week

11 Oct 2015 | Cpl. Joshua Murray The Official United States Marine Corps Public Website

A Marine sprinted towards the other end of the enclosure as Denny, the Belgian Malinois military police dog, quickly traversed the distance in between him and his target. Just as Denny prepared to launch and take down the Marine, his handler screamed “Halt, Sit!” The crowd applauded as the Belgian Malinois stopped on a dime at its handlers command during the Bark at the Park event Oct. 10, as part of San Francisco Fleet Week 2015.

Bark in the Park was conducted as an opportunity for service members, San Francisco government agencies and the citizens of San Francisco to display the different capabilities that can be provided by military working dogs.

Oz Robinson, an apprentice instructor with Canine Companions, said the intelligence displayed by the dogs and the tasks they could accomplish after a little bit of training was unbelievable.

“Dogs are very, very intelligent creatures capable of accomplishing almost anything as long as people take the time to train them and take care of them,” Robinson said. “With a little bit of training these dogs have been able to accomplish wondrous tasks that really aid everyone from service members to people who suffer from disabilities.”

Marines, police officers and other companies lead demonstrations to show the San Francisco natives the unique capabilities the dogs possessed.

Sergeant Edgar Ramirez, a dog handler with 1st Law Enforcement Battalion, I Marine Expeditionary Force Headquarters Group, explained how obedience is an expected characteristic of Marines and the dogs that they work with.

“Throughout boot camp we as Marines are told we must show instant obedience to all orders, and we must carry out those orders without failure,” Ramirez said. “The same kind of mindset is instilled in our dogs at a very young age. We spend as much time with our dogs as we can to ensure they are well taken care of and completely capable of performing the tasks that are required of them.”

While the demonstrations focused on the dog’s capabilities during normal work periods, the capabilities dogs can bring to humanitarian assistance and disaster relief are also incredibly important, Ramirez added.

“In the event of a natural disaster such as an earthquake or a Tsunami, many people can be lost or disabled and the dogs are really successful in tracking down people so we can help them as quickly as possible,” Ramirez said. “After the disaster, different service dogs are also able to help rehabilitate and assist people who may have been injured or disabled from the disaster.”

Due to the obedience instilled in the different variety of service dogs, they are able to greatly assist in the recovery of lost personnel and the rehabilitation of people who are injured in the event of a natural disaster.