K-9 Team receives new facility
By Senior Airman Marcy Glass, 460th Space Wing Public Affairs
/ Published February 01, 2012
BUCKLEY AIR FORCE BASE, Colo- -- Over the last few years, Team Buckley has watched large scale and more sufficient buildings built all over Buckley Air Force Base. The newest addition to our grounds is not as visible as the new ARPC headquarters or the pharmacy. South of the Civil Engineering building is the brand new K-9 kennels.
The 4,800 square foot facility can house up to 10 military working dogs. Buckley currently has six active military working dogs. The last four kennels are used during joint training exercises to provide housing to joint units' military dogs. The facility comes complete with a full kitchen, bathroom and lodging for the military working dog handlers and the on-call veterinarian. A fully equipped veterinarian clinic is available within the facility to provide medical care to all K-9's.
"The facility allows us to have more sufficient training with our K-9's. Due to the location of the building, it keeps our unit away from the public eye so the military working dogs are not distracted by activity around the building" said Staff Sgt. Michael Clark, 460th Security Forces military working dog handler.
The outside training area measures 148 feet wide by 220 feet long, giving the military working dogs ample space for training and fetching their favorite toy.
"I have been a handler for the last five years and it has been the most ideal situation. It is what I came in the Air Force for and I've absolutely loved everything I have done, from the numerous deployments to the presidential visits. I have been all around the world as a K-9 dog handler" said Staff Sgt. Brian Pope, 460th Security Forces military working dog handler.
The K-9 unit here at Buckley provides security forces with day to day police work, check points, drug and bomb detection. They support homeland security with bomb sweeps and joint training. During the football season at the Air Force Academy, they provide support for public safety by securing the area before any event.
"Working with the military working dogs is amazing. It's a very fulfilling job to work with the dogs and it is great to have a K-9 partner. I get to work with dogs all day and learn new skills. I may be a K-9 trainer but not a day goes by that I do not learn something new from my K-9 partner. As a team, we work hard and enjoy every day" said Clark.
The military working dog unit came to Buckley in October 2001 and has since established itself as a valuable asset of the 460th Security Forces Squadron. Currently, two of Buckley's military working dogs are down range providing support to other branches of the United States armed services.
"When we are deployed we do not just use the dogs to go out on the street to search and work. When we come back from assisting other Department of Defense agencies in Iraq or Afghanistan, it is usually a time for everyone to sit down, take a breath and relax and we get to watch everyone come by and love on the dogs for a second, say their names, say good job and it brings a sense of home to everyone who is down range. It is nice to have not just a partner but a friend deployed with you" said Tech. Sgt. Edward Canell, 460th Security Forces kennel master.
The 31,000 square- foot building and training yard, now in complete operation, will have a soft grand opening Feb. 2, 2012 followed by a short tour of the facility that will be attended by 460th Space Wing senior leaders.
"Every handler and military working dog in the 460th Security Forces squadron makes this kennel what it is and this is by far the best group of handlers and K-9's I have worked with" said Canell.