While serving as a Security Forces member in the Air Force, I was given plenty of opportunities to serve alongside our K9 teams. Being able to talk to the handlers, help out with training, and even help to care for the dogs while on duty was something I always appreciated. In the independent film Always Faithful by Harris Done, you will get an in-depth look into what it takes to become a Marine K9 handler, but also learn that the bond between military handler and dog can never be broken.
Always Faithful follows five Marines from the initial phasing out phase of Military K9 Academy, to boots and paws on the ground in the combat zone. These Marines will learn quickly that they will have to earn the respect and trust from their four legged partners before training can begin. Although having a dog as your partner may seem like a perfect match, for these handlers it will take time and patience to form a team that will always be ready to be called upon. However for one Marine, that day will never come as his four legged partner Rokka will be diagnosed with cancer and laid to rest.
Military K9 teams are utilized in numerous ways, from detecting drugs and explosive materials, to search and rescue. Always Faithful brings you real footage of what these K9 teams are faced with when called upon to deploy to the combat zone. Stumbling upon an I.E.D before it could be triggered and denoted, finding a cash of weapons and explosive materials, tracking down the enemy using the dogs keen sense of smell will be a typical day in the sandbox. Everything from the overwhelming environment, to the extremely dangerous missions, the K9 team will become the most important tool to bringing fellow Marines home safe.
Something that really sticks out about Always Faithful, is how the military dog isn’t just portrayed as equipment to find bombs, but rather as an animal that brings so much joy to not only their handlers, but to all the Marines its deployed with. These dogs aren’t looked upon by fellow Marines as just a piece of equipment, their looked upon as a fellow Marine. This is a film that will open your eyes to the special bond between Handler and K9, and a team that will do everything it can to protect one another, and fellow Marines.
Always Faithful will take you on an emotional ride, 14 minutes left in the film and I was close to turning it off. The same Marine that lost his dog to cancer, will once again be faced with possibly losing his new dog Flapoor, all while dealing with injuries of his own from an I.E.D attack. I’d be lying if I said my emotions aren’t stirred up, but this reminds me of Tsgt Norton who was a K9 handler I had worked with at Elmendorf AFB who lost his life in Iraq.
Always Faithful is an incredible film that brings the complete picture together of what it is to be a Marine K9 team. Though an emotional film from start to finish, you will be presented with what really takes place that makes the bond between handler and dog so strong. You will learn that not only are these dogs considered Marines as well, but they are also Heroes to all.
Never Forget the Military Dogs we have lost.
Special Thanks to Producer Harris Done.