Dancer, a highly skilled tracker dog celebrated as the ‘best of the best’ in his field, and Rusky, a seasoned mine detection dog with a distinguished service record in the operational areas of Jammu and Kashmir, have recently retired from their active duty in the Army. Their well-earned retirement brought them to the Canine Geriatric Centre, an old age home for retired Army dogs located in Meerut. However, they’ve now found a new home at Command House, Pune, the official residence of Southern Army Commander Lt Gen Ajai Kumar Singh, who adopted them.
Indian Army’s military dogs have historically played a crucial role in supporting operations during the 1965 and 1971 wars, as well as in low-intensity conflict operations in the Northern Theatre. These canine soldiers, known as the ‘silent force,’ have lent their varied skills to assist troops in Counter Insurgency and Counter Terrorism (CI/CT) operations.
A variety of dog breeds, including German Shepherds, Labradors, Mudhol Hounds, Belgian Malinois, and Cocker Spaniels, are bred and trained at the Remount and Veterinary Corps Centre and College in Meerut, tailored to the specific needs of the Indian Army.
The rigorous training these dogs undergo equips them for various specialized tasks, including guard duties, tracking, patrol duties, mine detection, explosive detection, avalanche search and rescue operations, general search and rescue missions, and even specialized assault roles.
Rusky, a female Labrador, contributed significantly to security and explosives and mine detection during her military service with the 18 Army Dog Unit, particularly in the Avantipur sector in the Northern Command. Dancer, a male Labrador, was renowned as a top-tier tracker dog, earning him a spot as a demonstration dog on the prestigious team at the Remount and Veterinary Corps Centre and College in Meerut.
Upon reaching the age of nine and completing their active military service, these canine heroes were retired and transferred to the Canine Geriatric Centre in Meerut. The 25 Army Dog Unit based in Pune took the initiative and, at the request of Army Commander Lt Gen A K Singh, arranged for their adoption. Dancer and Rusky now reside at Command House, Pune.
Southern Command shared the news of their adoption, emphasizing the significance of dogs in our lives, stating, “Dogs are not our whole life, but they make our lives wholesome.”
The Canine Geriatric Centre in Meerut makes dogs available for adoption by Indian citizens, based on availability.