Leaping out of the plane several feet up in the sky is daunting enough for humans with training. Now picture a dog doing it and having fun while at it. That’s exactly what Siara was caught doing in the company of her human friends.
Meet Siara, a 1 year-old dog in the service of the Colombian Military, skydiving from 14,000 feet above. She has been engaged by a special search and rescue team, to help them find things that are difficult to detect. However, Siara was not left hanging on her own while skydiving; she was strapped to a soldier while making the drop from above.
There were also other dogs that partook in the exercise. Siara and her fellow pooches have been trained to help the Colombian army in search and rescue operations. The training in skydiving for both men and animals is to help them get to remote areas that may not be accessible by land during an emergency. The dogs had just completed their training when they were spotted skydiving. Siara was really cool about the experience, chatting with other dogs in the process, or so we thought as she made sounds and gestured to her comrades midair.
Siara is a Belgian Malinois; a special breed of dog similar to a Belgian shepherd. They are usually from medium to large in size. Due to cross-breeding over the years, Malinois now vary in appearance. However, the most common colour is a mixture of black and mahogany. They are often described as intelligent, friendly and alert. They also have an incredible amount of energy and a high prey drive. Because of their special abilities, they are commonly used in militaries, police forces, and special services around the world. In recent times, they have also been used in rescue services.
In the United States, the Secret Service uses them to guard the White House premises. They have also been used in war zones, especially in Iraq. A Belgian Malinois called Cairo was part of the team that killed Osama Bin Laden in 2011.
Skydiving dogs are not really a new item, although they are becoming a trend these days. The Soviets had used dogs skydiving from aircraft in operations as far back as the 1930s. In the Second World War, the Soviets trained these dogs and parachuted them into war zones to help with things like the clearing of mines and spotting snipers. In 2010, British Special Forces parachuted German Shepherds fitted with cameras into Taliban strongholds in Afghanistan to search for terrorist positions.
More recently in South Africa, anti-poaching authorities have trained dogs to help in combating poaching in the South African wildlife reserve. They parachute the dogs into the forest reserve and set them against well-armed poachers. The dogs run forward and attack the poachers, pinning them to the ground until help arrives. This strategy worked so well in South Africa that over 100 dogs were trained.
There is a reason why dogs are called man’s best friend. It is a friendship that has lasted for thousands of years and today, Siara and other trained dogs continue to reflect this friendship by being of use in sometimes incredible situations. Skydiving dogs hold promises of uses in several fields; from crime fighting to research. Who knows what dogs would be doing next, carrying guns?