“What we have once enjoyed we can never lose. All that we love deeply becomes a part of us.”
~ Helen Keller ~
Bak, a Belgian Malinois/Yellow Lab Military Working Dog (MWD) stationed at Randolph Air Force Base in San Antonio , “conducts health, morale and welfare inspections.” In addition to demonstrating the capabilities of a dual certified patrol and narcotic detector dog, Bak also conducts random vehicle inspections at the gates to deter the presence of contraband.
But Bak has another equally important, yet more personal, job. According to his handler Staff SGT. Nathan C. from the 12th Security Forces Military Working Dog section, Bak “is the cheapest therapist there is.” In his twenties, Nathan was diagnosed with cancer. He was understandably frightened because his grandmother and dad had both died of the disease. Five days after his diagnosis he had surgery, and the following day against the doctor’s advice, he went to the kennels to see Bak, just to let him know he was okay. “Bak is a good listener.” With his special friend and comrade, Nathan was taught the meaning of comfort and that a head on your knee can heal unbelievable hurts.
Bak has given Nathan hope and kept him positive. The encouragement and support from this very special dog has allowed Nathan to educate people that cancer doesn’t discriminate. “No matter what age you are, you are not immune.” He is also first to admit that to him “there is nothing more valuable on the face of this planet than Bak. The two and a half years we have been together he has been my best friend. We’ve never had an argument and he has never said, ‘No Dad, I don’t want to.’”
Nathan and Bak will soon be separated, deployed to different locations. But within their story courage, greatness and devoted love of country and dog is revealed. Some of us get by with a little help from our friends and then some of us are literally saved by them.