An Army rare breed


FORT BONIFACIO, Taguig City – At four years old, Roy has done wonders not everybody of his kind can do.

Grief loomed in a village in Mankayan, Benguet when landslides brought by relentless rains claimed the lives of people, displaced families, and damaged houses and infrastructure.

Search and rescue teams from different government agencies were deployed to locate the missing persons, believed to have been buried in mud and debris. Amid the painful reality of loss is the families’ hope of finding their loved ones.

Roy helped rescue teams locate the missing persons. Only months after graduating from his combat tracking training, Roy led the team in the vicinities where some of the victims might have been buried. The retrieval operations that followed was in connection with the positive indication showed by Roy. Hours and days later, the team retrieved four cadavers.

This has been Roy’s first operation. Despite being new in the job, he displayed extraordinary potential, giving the grief-stricken families a chance to properly say goodbye and provide a decent burial to their relatives who died in the landslides.

Roy is a member of the Philippine Army’s 5th K9 Company. He is a Military Working Dog. Recently, he was recognized for his extraordinary feat in the search and retrieval operations in Mankayan, Benguet.

Roy: The Military Working Dog

Roy is a Labrador and Aspin (Asong Pinoy/Askal) cross breed. His potential to become a military working dog was discovered while he was at the K9 headquarters in Fort Bonifacio. At his tender age, he showed a drive, characterized by his love for balls (toys), running around, and chasing and playing with the handlers. Exhibiting these traits, he went through the Basic Obedience Training. After which, he specialized in combat tracking and finished the 6 months training just last February at Fort Magsaysay in Nueva Ecija. He was then deployed at the 5th Infantry Division in Upi, Gamu, Isabela.

“Roy is a special military working dog (MWD). Despite being a mixed breed, he is intelligent and capable. He can keep pace with the pure breeds,” said Sergeant Wilfredo Fiesta, the team leader of the 5th K9 Company involved in the search and retrieval operations in Benguet.

Fiesta has been an MWD handler for almost 10 years already.

Roy’s handler, PFC Crisanto de Gracia, has been continuously training Roy. “Part of our daily routine is the continuous training exercise. As a handler, it is important to develop a bond with the dog. We do this with daily activities so that we can both be familiar with each other,” said De Gracia.

For his involvement in the search and retrieval operations in Benguet, Roy and the Army K9 Battalion received a Certificate of Recognition from the Bureau of Animal Industry. Roy was also given a star by the Intelligence Service Group (ISG), during their anniversary, for being a search and rescue dog.

Hero Dogs

At present, there are 149 MWDs at the Army K9 Battalion deployed in the different units of the Philippine Army nationwide. They are combat tracking dogs, explosive detection dogs, and scout/attack dogs.

These hero dogs are deployed during search, rescue and retrieval operations; and in military operations against lawless elements. #

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