The Best Defense

Rebecca's War Dog of the Week: Canadian Mounty Police Dog Mourns His Fallen Handler

By Rebecca Frankel
Best Defense Chief Canine Correspondent

On June 4, three Royal Canadian Mounted Police officers were gunned down when a reported madman went on a shooting spree in Mocton, a city in eastern Canada. K-9 handler Dennis Ross was one of the officers killed.

This week a funeral service was held for these officers and Ross's canine partner, Danny, was in attendance. Photos of Danny at the service, like the one above, have been making headlines and pulling heartstrings. One report said that during the service, Danny "whimpered" by the casket and another reported that during the funeral process the dog "jumped up to sniff Ross' RCMP stetson" as a final good-bye.

Danny, the three-year-old German Shepherd, was partnered with Ross in December 2012, though their formal training only began in April 2013. Though they weren't together long, their bond was a strong one. Ross's wife remarked on how close the pair was and said that she felt her husband would want his partner to keep on their work with another handler:

"'Anytime Danny barked at home, it would be to get Dave to open the truck door so they could go to work,' she said. ... 'It wouldn't be fair to Danny to retire him as he loved his work as much as Dave did.'"

Anyone who has had a dog knows that they grieve the loss of humans (and animals) they loved. These photos of Danny call to mind the footage of Hawkeye, the dog belonging to Jon Tumilson, a Navy Seal who "was killed in Afghanistan when his Chinook helicopter was hit by enemy fire on Aug. 6, [2011]." During Tumilson's funeral the dog "wandered over to his owner's flag-draped coffin and lay beside it throughout the service."

A video titled "Danny's Doing Well" posted on June 11, shows Danny chasing a ball in a stream -- just being a young, happy dog.

REUTERS/Mark Blinch

The Best Defense

Yes, I am watching Mosul, but I finally am speechless about the events in Iraq

I am sitting here thinking that with the fall of Mosul, I feel like I should write something. But I also feel like: damn it, I have nothing more to say about it. This comes after about 12 years of writing about it constantly, first a couple of thousand news articles and then in two books.

I don't feel grieved by this. More, I just feel numb. It reminds me of something that Jim Gourley once wrote, "Iraq has already given and taken from me everything it's going to."

I wonder if people who spent a lot of time in Iraq feel similarly. I suspect so, because my various networks of contacts have been pretty quiet about Iraq this week. My guess is that anyone watching Iraq closely began thinking that these events became inevitable once Maliki began attacking Sunni towns. As Andrew Exum commented last night, "you can buy host nation time and space for political reform and compromise, but ultimately it's their choice."

It boils down to this: The Shiites act like they are a majority in Iraq, or at least the single biggest group. The Sunnis act like they are a majority in the Arab world. Both are right. The question is: Which is more important inside Iraq? Unfortunately, the answer likely will come from Iran, in how it supports Maliki in the coming days. I don't think the U.S. government will conduct air strikes. I don't even know how it would be done -- the big base at Balad will be a juicy target for ISIS, so you can't use that. So B-1s out of Diego Garcia? Still hard to do and coordinate with someone on the ground.

My guess: We wind up with a de facto partition of Iraq -- a Shiite south extending up to the east bank of the Tigris in Baghdad, a Sunni north and west that begins in the western side of Baghdad, and a Kurdish northeast. The Kurds have played this especially well, hanging back and letting Maliki screw up and also cutting a peace deal with the Turks so they can focus on Iraq.