By Rebecca Frankel
Best Defense chief canine correspondent
There was blood on his legs, seeping out between the impromptu bandages. From the photos, the blood looked to be caked along his tail, on his hind- and front-paws, even staining the fibers of his leash a deep red. Five Marines, three of them dog handlers, flanked the stretcher that carried Drak, a bomb-sniffing dog with their unit, the 1st Battalion, 5th Marines, Regimental Combat Team 8, onto a helicopter for emergency evacuation.
Drak, a four-year-old Belgian Malanois, was injured during an insurgent attack, when a suicide bomber targeting Marines and Afghan police, detonated a "vehicle-borne improvised explosive device" outside FOB Jackson in Sangin, Afghanistan on Sept. 8.
Sgt. Kenneth Fischer, Drak's handler, was also injured during the attack when shrapnel from the blast pierced his legs. The pair was flown back to base, then off to surgery.
"He should be OK," Fischer told AP ten days after the attack from Bethesda, MD where he's recovering. "At first, there was some talk about him losing one of his legs, but not so much anymore. Knowing Drak, he should be fine."
described by his handler as a mostly calm and relaxed dog who never took to the
sound of gunfire, is being treated at a facility in Germany but will be transferred
to Lackland AFB in Texas to convalesce. If for some reason the young dog isn't
able to resume his military service, Fischer has other plans for him, like
"spend[ing] his days lying around at Fischer's home at his duty station in
Twentynine Palms, California, or playing frisbee."
(The AP posted a gallery of Fischer and Drak, worth viewing here.)
In other news: For those celebrating the Jewish New Year this week, there's a bomb-sniffing dog for that.. The Congregation Mount Sinai Synagogue in Brooklyn, New York is also, for 50 hours a week, home to Gus, a retired bomb-sniffing dog, who was adopted by Rabbi Potasnik last year. Though the synagogue tightens security during the Jewish high holy days, Gus isn't part of NYPD's assistance. Nowadays he spends his time "barking at strangers, chasing rubber balls, and chowing down on treats."
U.S. Marine Corps photo by Cpl. Logan W. Pierce
Thomas E. Ricks covered the U.S. military for the Washington Post from 2000 through 2008.