Ex-IDF dog now protects and serves in Montana

Ex-IDF dog now protects

By TALI MINSBERG
December 14, 2009 20:46
2 minute read.
oketz dogs idf 248.88 AJ

oketz dogs idf 248.88 AJ. (photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)

 
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An IDF-trained dog by the name of Miky has put the Police Department of Helena, Montana on the map in recent days. Miky, who was trained in Israel to sniff out explosives, was brought to Montana via a grant to serve as a police dog, according to Sgt. John Fosket of the Helena Police Department. But since Miky had been trained in Hebrew, the Helena Police struggled with the commands the dog had been taught to obey. A rabbi was eventually called in to help break the language barrier. "When you're a rabbi living in Montana, you are able to be a help in many ways," Rabbi Chaim Bruk told The Jerusalem Post. "Not only are you helping Jews, but you help in odd situations as well; a service on behalf of the Jewish people." "I spoke with John a few weeks ago," Bruk said. "He's doing pretty well; he never spoke Hebrew [before] in his life. He's still having a little trouble with the 'ch' sound... it's a tough one." As he became more familiar with the language, Sgt. Fosket's relationship with Miky thrived, and the star team was even recently brought in by the Secret Service for a presidential visit. "He [Miky] is very protective of me and our vehicle. Once I learned the correct Hebrew commands, our relationship changed and our bond intensified," Sgt. Fosket told the Post, adding, "...he's a very strong-willed dog." Miky is one of thousands of dogs trained in Oketz, the IDF's K-9 special forces unit - the only one of its kind in the world. According to Asaf Leibovich, a former Oketz soldier, the IDF is very selective when choosing dogs, and the ones that meet the grade have several options upon completing their tour of duty. "They can become police dogs or something along those lines," he said, or, if they are too old or out of shape, they can be "taken into a home with the soldiers and become a different kind of working dog." Alternatively, they could be transferred "to the Israel Air Force, which has a small canine unit for guarding bases," he said. Miky isn't the only Israeli-trained dog serving in the US, an indication, said Leibovich, of the positive relationship between the United States and Israel. "Israel is the only place in the world that trains dogs for the military," he said. "There are programs with the American military where Marines come in for five months and learn what the IDF is doing... it's really a partnership thing."

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