MWD handlers say goodbye to ‘best nose on Fort Riley’
Soldiers with the Fort Riley Police K-9 Unit, HHD, 97th MP Bn., stand by Hary, MWD, Feb. 1 before he was euthonized at the Fort Riley Veterinary Clinic. They read “Guardians of the Night” an anonymous poem about MWDs, and said a prayer for him.
Story by: Pamela Redford
1ST INF. DIV. POST
Military working dog Hary was honored for his life and service Feb. 1 in a five-car military police procession that allowed the post to say goodbye to the 9-year-old German Shepherd widely known as the best nose on Fort Riley.
In November 2003, a little over a year after he was whelped, Hary entered training at the 341st Training Squadron, Lackland Air Force Base, San Antonio. He was dual certified in patrol and narcotics in April 2004.
A month later, he joined handler Cory Mcdonald at Fort Riley, and the two began forming a bond. They deployed to Kuwait in November 2004 as a team; Hary supported customs' missions by conducting luggage and connex sweeps during Operation Iraqi Freedom.
In November 2005, Hary returned to service at Fort Riley, where he went on to train with four other handlers. During those six years, he was certified eight times – consistently qualifying on the first try. Hary also conducted 181 health and welfare inspections resulting in 103 finds and completed 416 law enforcement patrols.
Hary literally worked his entire adult life. Due to medical issues, Hary was pending retirement from the Army, and an adoption was being planned. He was still performing duties as a MWD during evenings and on the weekends, even as his mobility diminished.
On Jan. 31, Lt. Col. Michael Matthews, commander, 97th Military Police Battalion, reported "with a heavy heart" that Hary's debilitating physical ailments had rendered him unable to continue to serve and were causing him severe pain. On his final night, Hary had a steak dinner with biscuits and slept on a stuffed chair.
The following morning, Hary was driven around Fort Riley to say goodbye to the installation he protected from May 2004 to February 2012, with support of the Directorate of Emergency Services and the 97th MP Bn.
At 8 a.m. Feb. 1, Hary was euthanized at the Fort Riley Veterinary Clinic and laid to rest.
His life will be celebrated and his service honored at a memorial service March 15.
FORMER HANDLERS REMEMBER HARY
FORMER HANDLER AND FENCE INSTALLER
About Hary: "He was good at everything, but especially the standoff in mid-air. As soon as I gave the command, he would stop attacking in mid-air. He had the greatest nose of any drug dog that I ever saw."
Most memorable mission: "We were called out to one of the gates to search for drugs. Right out of truck, Hary's nose perked up, his tail started wagging and ran straight over to the car and sat down – that was the signal that he found drugs. So, I praised him and put him away. We tore that car apart and couldn't find anything. But his nose had perked up, and a couple of the MPs had seen it. So, we kept searching. All canines are reliable; they maintain 95 percent. But (with Hary), we were batting 100 percent every time he responded – we'd find drugs or traces of it. Sure enough, there was this soda can that basically looked just like a Pepsi can. The top swerved off, and it was full of marijuana."
SGT. MAJ. TERESA DUNCAN
97TH MP BN., 1ST INF. DIV.
About Hary: "He was the perfect Soldier that any leaders would hope to have in their unit. He was loyal, disciplined, a hard worker and had no personal issues. Some described him as 'the best nose on Fort Riley.' What people don't realize is, MWDs don't get a break; they are constantly working. I don't think they get enough credit. People forget that they protect us day in and day out. The dog isn't a piece of equipment, it is more of a Soldier."
SPC. MATTHEW SUDDON
FORMER HANDLER, FORT KNOX, KY.
About Hary: "I don't know why, but he would respond to the new K2 drug, even though he wasn't trained for it. But with a dog like Hary, I can believe it. He was the easiest dog to work; he was pretty on point."
Most memorable mission: "We went down to Fort Bliss, (Texas), for a month last summer to support them; they didn't have a certified narcotics team at the time, so we went to be on call for patrols. It was our first mission together."
FORMER HANDLER AND OWNER OF ALPHA K9, SACRAMENTO, CALIF.
First impression: "He was a goofy furball. He just had the most playful attitude, goofy expressions, just wanted to nonstop play and be loved on."
About Hary: "He was completely sociable; he got along with everyone. You could take him anywhere to do any type of mission. He was exactly what you would think a good MWD would be – obedient, playful, good around kids and easy to train with. With him, it wasn't a matter of if we were going to find drugs, it was a matter of how much we were going to find."
How Hary changed his life: "Now I own a dog-training company because of dogs like Hary. I train service dogs, police dogs and (do) obedience training. I continually teach people what I learned from him."