Paw-some! Six K9 dogs expected to arrive by end of Oct

Khirudin Drahman

KUCHING, Oct 1: The long awaited call of duty for Fire and Rescue Department (Bomba) four-legged officers in Sarawak will materialise very soon.

After several months of delay due to unforeseen circumstances, six canines (K9) allocated for the state will depart from Kuala Lumpur for the state sometime end of this month.

The state’s new K9 unit in Serian was supposed to begin operation in April this year.

The facilities were ready by then, just waiting for the dogs’ arrival.

When DayakDaily visited the facility in June, the whole area was beautifully painted in red and white, the department’s colours.

Each dog will have its own cage, complete with fans, and their own place to bathe, urinate and defecate.

At the moment, Bomba only has one K9 unit base, in Old Klang Road, Kuala Lumpur which covers operations nationwide.

So it comes as no surprise that the state Bomba team are looking forward to have their own K9 unit as it is a move that will add bite to its search and rescue operations, and fire investigations.

When contacted, Bomba’s new state director Khirudin Drahman said the multimodal transport (MTO) contractor handling live cargo is expected to ship the dogs by end of October.

Khirudin added that there are also other issues such as quarantine clearance and acclimatisation of the puppies before they can embark on their final journey to Kuching.

The United Kingdom (UK) trained dogs comprises four English Springer Spaniels (named Wilf, Sue, Bella and Cliff), a Border Collie named Daisy, and a Labrador named Bailey. They will be divided into three disciplines: fire investigation, wilderness, and cadaver.

They were acquired from Lincoln in the UK and each are just about more than 18-months-old.

The dogs are now in ‘transit’ at Old Klang Road in Kuala Lumpur, while some of their handlers are already based in Serian, eagerly waiting for them.

The K9 are sometimes seen as the ‘underdogs’ of the department because little about them is known to the public, especially the important roles they play.

While almost everyone knows that dogs have a better sense of smell than humans, not many know why, especially when the animals can be trained to do a wide range of duties and services that even their human counterparts can’t accomplish.

When DayakDaily spoke to a dog trainer, he said dogs breathe in through their nose which has a flap that separates the incoming air.

Part of the air goes in for respiration, while the other part goes to the olfactory (smelling) sensors.

They have individual sections of the nose for each function, whereas humans just have one section for all functions of the nose.

In simple terms, with noses that are 10,000 times more acute, the canines can smell things which human simply cannot.

He added that the dogs can even smell a human buried up to 12 feet underground and search an area four times faster than a human can with much higher accuracy.

As with any dog training, the training sessions for K9 dogs are made as fun as possible, so that all this important preparatory work for their often hazardous job is experienced as a game by the dogs.

Fun training will definitely keep the dog from losing interest or from getting burned out. — DayakDaily

All videos courtesy of the Bomba K9 unit.