Man's better-than-ever friend

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by Stephanie, Sep 9, 2006.

  1. Stephanie

    Stephanie Diamond Member

    Jul 11, 2004
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    I never realized before that Pat Boone had so much wisdom in him...But I've read a lot of stuff from him lately that has been impressive....
    Now here's one for the puppies....

    Posted: September 9, 2006
    1:00 a.m. Eastern

    Who doesn't love dogs? If there's a human being who doesn't feel warm and friendly toward almost any normal canine, I suspect there's a gene missing somewhere.

    When that furry little critter noses up to you, tail flailing in happy expectation, who can resist the urge to pet its head, scratch its ears, pat and rub its back, and win its trust and offered friendship? Our family has deeply enjoyed the loyalty and affection – and the plain old fun – of many dogs in our years together. And when, inevitably, we've lost one to age or illness, we've conducted burial services in our rose garden that would have pleased royalty. And we miss every one.

    We've all become aware of the surprising, exceptional abilities many dogs have. From an understanding of large vocabularies of words, to athletic stunts of balance and coordination that Olympians must envy, to inherent guidance systems that have enabled many to find their way home over startling distances, to the amazing but "stupid pet tricks" exhibited on Dave Letterman's shows – dogs of all shapes and sizes continue to surprise and delight us.

    I was filming in England some years ago, and our family took a house in an exclusive London suburb. One night , after we'd put our four daughters to bed, Shirley and I heard a curious scraping noise on the first landing of the stairs, and when we pulled back the drape, we were inches away from an intruder using a brace and bit to drill his way into our house – in the middle of the evening! I chased him over the back fence brandishing a little penknife while Shirley called the police. After that, just for extra security, at night and on weekends, we engaged a service that supplied a watchman with a German shepherd, a handsome specimen named Rusty.

    Boy, nobody would want to mess with that brute! Just the deep-throated thunder of his bark could panic anybody, and the thought of him coming at you with ears back and teeth bared would relieve you of any evil intent immediately. But we got to know his big heart, and he soon learned we were his friends. The several month relationship we shared was really special. Many, many readers will identify with all this, I'm sure.

    And now man's relationship with dogs has taken on a whole new dimension.

    Governmental, military and home security authorities have been groping desperately for a way to cope with a new kind of enemy. A trained, dedicated enemy who may not even be a man but just may be a young woman – or a child – with deadly explosives strapped to her body – a normal looking person who intends, even desires, to die in a self-detonated explosion that will kill many other unsuspecting people, including women and children. A person who looks like everybody else, standing in line waiting for a bus, or walking into a café or even a house of worship, wanting to die – violently.

    How do civilized people deal with a threat like that?

    Enter man's best friend – the dog.

    For a couple of years now, in Israel, an organization called Pups for Peace has been supplying a major answer to random terrorism. As cited in the Nov. 8, 2004, Jerusalem Post:

    "A PFP team was instrumental in preventing an attack on Jerusalem's Café Caffit on July 14, 2004, when a handler and his two dogs named Heidi and Moshe Herzl, were called to the scene from their patrol near Davidka Square. At the same time, sniffer dogs Mira and Rubin, were brought by their handler from Emek Refaim to provide reinforcement. While the organization will not reveal details of how the attack was thwarted, it is clear that the PFP teams – which work in eight-hour shifts and change their location every two hours or so – saved the day."

    In many other reported incidents, expertly trained drug and explosive sniffing dogs have spotted and exposed terrorists with deadly intentions and saved untold lives. Only rarely have the dogs or their handlers been killed or injured, because once the enemy is spotted, they either abandon their target and surrender, or go ahead and detonate without getting into a crowd. It's still inexcusable and horrific, but the death count is far less. And as the word gets around and the likelihood of detection is greater, the despicable practice is discouraged.

    Isn't that magnificent?

    The concept of PFP came to Glenn Yago, professor of Economics and director of the Santa Monica-based Milken Institute, after the Passover Massacre at the Park Hotel in Netanya in 2002.

    "At the time we heard the news (of the bombing) we were sitting at the Seder (Passover) table reading the passage which says that 'no dogs barked,' and that is how the Jews were able to leave Egypt," recalls Yago. "That is how the idea for Pups for Peace was born."

    Yago shared his idea on the Internet and was soon joined by expert dog trainer Mike Herstik, as well as Gilbert Sherer and Ronnie Lotan (now PFP's Israeli director and general manager, respectively). Dogs were being trained in a temporary facility in Southern California by December 2002!

    God bless these men, and the dogs they've trained. Since the current intifada began in September of 2000, there have been 124 separate bomb attacks on Israeli citizens, killing and maiming hundreds of unsuspecting, innocent civilians and some soldiers. Currently, a $3 million Pups for Peace program employs 17 professionals and 150 trained dogs, each valued at $25,000.

    Why? Because a dog's nose functions more effectively than any machine. If a single gram of cocaine is hidden in 10 pounds of coffee, then placed in a paper bag and then hidden in a metal cabinet, the dog can smell the metal of the cabinet, the paper of the bag, the coffee – and then the single gram of cocaine! A strong "decoy" smell will not mask the scent for a trained dog.

    And in intensive "hide and seek" tests and trials, these dogs have proven 100 percent effective in locating hidden explosives!

    I get the feeling these wonderful creatures may have been, and will continue to be, more effective in reducing – or hopefully eliminating – suicide bombings in Israel than the vastly more expensive wall meant to separate Israelis from their avowed enemies.

    And God forbid, if terrorist groups have similar intentions in America, we should immediately adopt and implement a similar program – a Pups for Peace program – and get these "man's best friends" sniffing through every town in our country! I doubt that Homeland Security can come up with a more potent deterrent, at least to personally delivered suicide bombings.

    There's so much more to this story. Please go to and visit the page called "Who We Are and How You Can Help."

    And be sure to give your dog some extra love today, will ya?

    Pat Boone, descendent of the legendary pioneer Daniel Boone, has been a top-selling recording artist, the star of his own hit TV series, a movie star, a Broadway headliner, and a best-selling author in a career that has spanned half a century. During the classic rock & roll era of the 1950s, he sold more records than any artist except Elvis Presley. To learn more about Pat, please visit his website.

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