Paul Hair

Dogs are a popular pet. But they can be more than that when someone properly trains them. And a canine that people train to be a military working dog is a particularly special beast.

Dogs are animals. And that means they should have plenty of access to the outdoors. A well-trained dog that lives on a farm has a good life. The same is true for a well-trained hunting dog. But they also are much more enjoyable to be around than many other animals that people keep as pets. Such dogs, after all, have a meaningful job.

Vocation is an important part of life for humans. If someone never discovers his he leads a less fulfilled life. The same is not quite true for animals. But a domesticated animal that never serves a purpose somewhat wastes its life for both it and its owner.

I understand that many people own pets for their companionship. So Im not arguing against that. But if you dont understand what I mean when I say that a hunting or farm dog leads a better life than a dog that lives inside a house and occasionally goes for walks, consider the military working dog to see what I mean.

The U.S. Marine Corps Forces Special Operations Command (MARSOC) produced a video where K-9 handlers demonstrate their capabilities on Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton, Calif. on Nov. 30. Watch that video below.

A Marine Corps press release from 2015 provides additional details on how the multi-purpose canines (MPC) of MARSOC go above and beyond an average military working dog.

These canines are trained and maintained in multiple disciplines to include tracking, explosive detection, and all aspects of controlled aggression, said the master trainer. We ask one dog to do the work of two or three conventional working dogs. This one asset provides the (Marine Special Operations Teams) with many capabilities and employments for all their operational requirements. . . .

The MPCs learn how to swim long distances in the open water, how to clear beaches of explosives and other threats, assist during close-quarters battle aboard a vessel and to deploy in combat rubber raiding crafts. Many of these skills are common to all MPCs, but unique training is required for applying them in a new or different environment.

Military working dogs sometimes lead dangerous lives, which means they are sometimes wounded or killed in war zones.

But they receive top-notch care as well.

On top of this, they have purposeful existences. Military working dogs make their human owners lives better. And the canines live lives that they enjoy as well.

A pet is a nice thing to have, but having an animal that leads a meaningful life is even better. A dog of war is one such animal.

Image at Top: A multipurpose canine with Marine Raider Regiment prepares to participate in special patrol insertion/extraction training at Stone Bay, Camp Lejeune, N.C., Sept. 23, 2015. (U.S. Marine Corps photo byLance Cpl. Austin A. Lewis/Released)

Note: The appearance of U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) visual information does not imply or constitute DoD endorsement.