Marines Use Robotic Dog To Help Treat K-9 Service Dogs’ Wounds

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Just going to put it out there–I’ve been the proud wife of a Marine for 21 years. They take their duties seriously, and take care of their own like nobody’s business.

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Including their dogs.

Marines from Marine Corps Forces, Special Operations Command (MARSOC), are helping take care of their K-9 members on the field by designing a robotic dog for training purposes. In December, the robotic dog went through the gates of Camp Lejeune, NC, and allowed Marines to practice treating dog injuries like broken bones, bleeding, and burns, as those situations come up in real life for their service dogs in the field.

The robot dog is named Diesel, and it gives the Marines training that they’ve never had before, said a MARSOC veterinarian working with the program. Diesel’s issues are so real that they illicit visceral and emotional responses in the Marines, which will then give them that experience should the real deal happen in combat.

With Diesel, Marines can practice several medical procedures that include gunshot wounds and tracheotomies. Diesel acts as a wounded dog on the field would, including barking and whimpering. Earlier in the training program, Marines used what was basically a stuffed dog (called Jerry, FYI). It had little real-life similarity, and didn’t offer the interchangeable parts that Diesel does, giving Marines near limitless training scenarios.

Marine veterinarians say that treating an injured combat can often be hard, as it’s like treating a family member, but of an entirely different species. As marines are riflemen first, veterinary training skills tend to be secondary, but Diesel now allows them the experience they may not have ever had before–experience that could keep their K-9 members alive.

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MARSOC uses multi-purpose K-9s for various and dangerous missions, and the dogs undergo a 16-week training program with MARSOC. As data comes back from Diesel’s training sessions, project directors are refining changes to him, with the hope of the production of more to start in March. If all goes well, Diesel could be available to the K-9 Marines as early as April.

Oorah, Diesel! Thank you for your service to all our K-9 heroes everywhere!


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