The Register-Herald, Beckley, West Virginia

Life!

June 22, 2014

Group collects items for dog handlers in military

The Friends of Coal Ladies Auxiliary have worked on a different goal this past month.

A need came to our attention by a major who lives in West Virginia, but is deployed in Afghanistan. This major is one of several dog handlers in the war zone.

These dogs have a very important job, along with their handlers. Many times, after the enemy has left, or is in hiding, IEDs (improvised explosive devices) are left hidden behind. The enemy hopes our troops will encounter them on their journeys to and from other sites.

That is where this Army major and his K9 come in. It is their job to go ahead of the troops, searching the grounds littered with these IEDs. Many U.S. troops have suffered disfiguring injuries or death from these hidden traps. As a handler, you try not to think about the danger you and your canine are in.

It takes a special dog to do this job. Not all are suited. Some become too excited; some cannot stand the heat; others cannot take the sounds of gunfire and explosions and still maintain full concentration on their job. A dog’s sense of smell is up to 100,000 times more acute than a human’s.

According to the major, these dogs are well-fed by the government, but the need for treats, toys, leashes and collars is great and this is not a covered expense.

That is where the Friends of Coal Ladies Auxiliary stepped in to help.

At our last monthly meeting, members were asked to bring treats, toys, heavy duty collars and leashes as these dogs tend to be larger breeds.

The outpouring of kindness was great. Other items were purchased for these brave men and K9s by the Friends of Coal Ladies Auxiliary, which is a nonprofit group. Monies for these and other projects are generated by our online web store (www.friends-ofcoalladies.com), Friends of Coal Auto Fair sales, yearly golf tournament and other fundraising events.

Items collected were sent to the major, his colleagues and their dogs. These men and K9s risk their lives on a daily basis so that we can have the freedom that we enjoy.

As far as the Friends of Coal Ladies Auxiliary is concerned, “We Never Stop” aiding those who ensure our liberty. We salute their brave efforts.

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