Monday, September 17, 2007

Iron Dog

The Columbia Talk team has been away for a week celebrating our anniversary. We returned to find this WaPo story about the Iron Dog triathlon at Fort Meade. The week-long competition involves military dogs and their handlers throughout the Washington region.

"The first few days, the teams competed for points in narcotics and explosion detection events, during which K-9 units tried to locate anything from TNT strapped on car engine blocks to stashes of marijuana and cocaine planted in a warehouse.

"Then on Wednesday came the 'hardest-hitting' dog contest, a favorite among the soldiers, in which the dogs are given a short distance to build up speed and launch into a bite and tackle on a pretend suspect.

Finally the triathlon: A race that include a tough three-mile run through the woods, an obstacle course that forces dog and handler to crawl on their bellies and jump over barriers, and what the story describes as a "30-second window to pump 10 rounds through a distant bull's-eye."

We asked the Columbia Talk lab whether she was up for the challenge but she barked that she isn't really the "bite and tackle" sort.

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