Intruders beware: When this 80-pound German Shepherd isn’t patrolling Naval Air Station Patuxent River, Maryland, he’s training to take trespassers down at the drop of a command.
Bleck, a 6-year-old German Shepherd, is assigned to Navy Installations Command as a member of Pax River’s force protection team along with his handler, Master-at-Arms 2nd Class Evan Desrosiers.
Desrosiers knew when he joined the Navy more than a decade ago that he wanted to be a dog handler, he told Navy Times Tuesday, but he had to spend some time in the fleet as an MA before he could get orders for training at Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland, Texas.
“In my off time I would drive up to the nearest kennel and did all my requirements as a kennel support,” he said at the annual Sea Air Space Exposition outside Washington, D.C.
Today, Desrosiers and Bleck patrol Pax River, prepared to respond to threats. Though Desrosiers is affectionate with his dog, others are strictly prohibited from petting Bleck.
That’s for Bleck’s protection as much as the public’s, said MA2 Kegan Dolde, another Pax River dog handler.
Despite protecting strangers from errant bites and Bleck from any communicable diseases strangers might carry, Bleck’s job requires him to be suspicious of everyone besides Desrosiers.
“The bond is very close between the handler and his dog,” Dolde said. “If they don’t have that bond, they don’t work together.”
A big portion of Bleck’s training is about obedience, running drills where he’s told to sit, lie down, heel and jump up onto surfaces, just to reinforce his willingness to listen to his handler.
And, he’s not supposed to get attached to anyone else.
“The dog might not listen if we don’t have that strong bond,” Desrosiers said.