Today, we’ll take a break from policy issues involving federal environmental policy and the Army Corps of Engineers to pay tribute to a wonderful dog that made a difference for a community far, far away.
Wyoming was a German Shepherd who was trained in the U.S. to sniff out unexploded IEDs and mines. She was a Mine Detection Dog (MDD), trained as a part of the Marshall Legacy Institute to help villages around the world find and dispose of unexploded ordnance. (I am honored to serve on the Foundation’s Board of Directors.) During the 18 years of our program in which we have donated 210 MDDs to severely contaminated, war-torn countries, we have never lost a dog or handler (normally a trained local citizen).
In 2003, Wyoming shipped out to Camp Boo-oya in Vavuniya, Sri Lanka, at the invitation of the national government. She spent eight years helping the Sri Lanka Army Humanitarian Demining Unit clear and return nearly 500 acres of formerly contaminated land to villagers for safe and productive use. She then enjoyed several years of retirement, in which she was lovingly cared for by the HDU.
Alas, Wyoming died of old age on January 31. She was never injured in the line of duty.
The town was so grateful for her success that they gave her a hero’s burial, complete with flowers and a special burial cloth.
MDD Wyoming, RIP.
Lt. Gen. (Ret) Ted Stroup Senior Advisor
A member of the Dawson team since 2014, Ted was formerly Assistant Director, Civil Works and Commander, Corps of Engineers District, Fort Worth.