GREAT FALLS – In February, Ffarah, a 4-year-old Belgian Malinois, arrived in Great Falls from Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland, Texas. She is the newest member of Malmstrom’s 341st Security Forces Squadron Military Working Dogs.
Staff Sergeant Christopher Hotine will be Ffarah’s first handler.
“I have been a handler for three years,” Hotine said,
During that time, Hotine has worked with four military working dogs.
Both Ffarah and Hotine had their initial training in Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland, Texas.
When Hotine works with a new dog, they are already trained in the basics and it is just building upon what they already know.
“It is a lot of advanced training. Trying to get them where we need them to be,” Hotine said.
The dogs are not only trained in patrol work but are also taught either drug or explosive detection.
Hotine says it is important to honor the work that these dogs do for our country.
“The dogs, they sacrifice just as much as we do. I have known dogs that have saved many lives and have saved a lot of people. People are able to go home to their families because of these dogs’ capabilities. That is implacable. I think it is an honor to be able to celebrate some of the dogs that have either passed away in conflict or retired over the years,” Hotine said.
March 13 is the unofficial K-9 Veterans Day where military working dogs are honored for their work.