The Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) in a recent Facebook post introduced one of its hardworking members—Kendry, a working dog with the PCG’s K9 unit.
“Fulgoso?” PCG’s post asked, referring to Marimar’s dog from the popular TV drama series.
Nope, that’s Kendry, who works at various train stations in Metro Manila with his handler Lt. Carina Dayondon.
PCG, which is under the Department of Transportation (DOTr), uses its Coast Guard Working Dog (CGWD) unit to help maintain peace and order in Metro Manila’s public transportation stations such as the MRT.
“Pero kwento ni Lt. Dayondon, hindi lamang pagpapanatili ng kaligtasan at kaayusan ang nagagawa ni CGWD Kendry para sa mga pasahero. Nakapagbibigay rin siya ng ngiti, lalo na sa mga pasaherong naaalala si Fulgoso, ang alagang aso ni Marimar, tuwing napapatitig sa mga mata ni CGWD Kendry.”
Fulgoso and Kendry are both golden retrievers, one of the best breeds to train as service dogs for the disabled and K9 units because of their intelligence.
Just don’t make them guard your house. Golden retrievers are famously gentle and very friendly—even to strangers and thieves—which is why they are also good with babies and special children.
PCG has various dog breeds in its K9 unit. In a demonstration last week, they showed a large Belgian malinois and a mixed breed dog working alongside a Jack Russel terrier, a medium-sized breed.
While all three dogs sniffed and looked for contraband at a Manila port, the Jack Russel had to be carried like a baby by a Coast Guard officer leaving a cargo vessel because its tiny paws would have slipped through the slats on the metal plank.
Small and medium dogs are also good workers, especially beagles, which belong to the hound category, the oldest type of hunting dogs.
A working beagle was featured some years ago in a KLM commercial as one of Amsterdam Airport’s security workers in the lost and found section. The ad shows him going into a plane that passengers have just disembarked from, and is made to sniff a cell phone left behind. Then he runs back to the terminal and finds the owner waiting by the baggage carousel. (Watch the cute video here.)
Of course this was all scripted, but it illustrates how beagles and hound dogs have an amazing sense of smell. Hounds can find their way home from hundreds of kilometers away if they have to; or as hunting dogs they can locate birds that have been shot by their humans in the woods.
Last weekend, it was the PNP that did an obedience demonstration of its K9 unit with a beagle and his handler using hand signals.
The Coast Guard also recently posted about another dog—a Belgian malinois inspecting donations arriving at Manila ports from various organizations and private individuals.
The purpose of using dogs is to find illegal or dangerous substances from huge piles that would otherwise take days if humans were to do it.
This is also to make sure that relief supplies delivered to typhoon-hit Bicol, Cagayan, Isabela and other provinces are safe for consumption and use. The donations are cleared before they are repacked and distributed to families affected by the recent typhoons.
PCG’s K9 unit was established in 2002 under the administration of President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo—ahead of the PNP’s own K9 unit, which was formed under President Noynoy Aquino.
The Coast Guard’s K9 unit works with the Philippine Ports Authority to address maritime security and is used to help ensure the safety and security of commercial vessels, passengers and Philippine ports from terrorist attacks and unlawful activities.
Thankfully, not is all work for these fur babies. Their handlers remember their birthdays and throw them a doggie party when they turn a year older (well, seven in human years).
Labrador retrievers Britney and Barley are two such working dogs that celebrated their birthdays with the Coast Guard in Zamboanga City.
Like all birthday celebrants, the fur babies were all smiles—and drool.
Banner photo of Megan Young as Marimar with Fulgoso courtesy of GMA-7; Kendry and Lt. Carina Dayondon courtesy of PCG