ZHARI, Afghanistan — Aron is 3 years old, with shaggy black fur and long teeth. He loves soldiers' attention and chasing his tennis ball. It is the only life he knows — this is his third nine-month deployment to Afghanistan. Talk of drawdown is lost on him, though he will surely leave Afghanistan forever with his handler next year.
During the height of the Iraq war, no combat operation would be complete without a bomb-sniffing dog leading the way. During downtime on huge bases the dogs and their military handlers were generally sequestered away from other soldiers to minimize the chance of accidents or injuries.