Vietnam

Christmas Cookies
for Beau, 132M


by Vaughn Hull
© 2002

35th SPS
K-9 Section

 

It was Christmas Eve/Christmas morning when I got a call on my prep (radio) to go to the back road. When I got there, a couple other handlers were already waiting. A nurse, doctor, and two donut dollies (Red Cross volunteers) were treating us dog handlers to coffee, cookies and donuts.

The nurse, smiling broadly, decided on her own to approach Beau with a cookie, not realizing the danger an Air Force sentry dog presented. Beau, thinking she had a weapon or was trying to do harm lunged at her. If I hadn't had a short leash on Beau, the nurse would have been his late night snack. Beau growled, snarled and showed the nurse all his teeth, and startled, she jumped back real fast.

I explained to the nurse that she had to ask if my dog wanted a cookie. So she asked me if Beau wanted a cookie. I replied, "No. You don't understand. You have to ask Beau if he wanted a cookie." I explained to her to talk to Beau as if he was a three year old child, so she asked Beau in that tone of voice and he got very excited wagging his tail.

The nurse was able to love on Beau and feed him cookies, and they were best of friends for about ten minutes until the cookies were gone, and I gave Beau the command of heel and we went back to work. The nurse, not understanding that play time was over and Beau was back to work, unexpectedly approached Beau with one more cookie -- but this time he nipped her. She started yelling and that made Beau to get more aggressive. I yanked on his leash and he returned to me.

The doctor, who out ranked the nurse, told her they were visitors of the handlers at the K-9 dog's post, which is like the dog's house. So she said she was sorry about not understanding. Beau and I went back to post.

I felt bad about the nurse getting nipped, but she, like many others, assumed Air Force sentry dogs were as approachable as Army trail or scout dogs... and of course, they were not approachable at all.

All in all... the cookies were a great Christmas treat!

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