Special treats for military dogs

SIMSBURY, Conn. (WTNH) — Mark Rudewicz served in the Marines, then worked with dogs in the Hartford Police Department. He knows how important military dogs are, so he’s collecting and sending care packages to them.

“I wanted to have it two-fold. I wanted two soldiers to benefit — the two-legged, the human, and the four-legged, the canine,” said Rudewicz, who is currently Simsbury’s animal control officer.

All year long he collects donated items for the troops and for working military canines. Last December, News 8 was there as the nearby Fidelco Guide Dog Foundation helped out with its own donations of everything from dog goggles – or “doggles” — to protect their eyes, to treats and toys for relaxing and unwinding.

“And at the end of the day, sure just like we want to relax, that dog wants to relax,” Rudewicz said. “Whether it’s a toy, whether it’s a chew, whether it’s a treat.”

RELATED: The job of a police dog

There have been a lot of troop drawdowns overseas; out of Iraq, a lot fewer troops in Afghanistan, but there is still plenty of need. Each package is personally addressed to someone serving overseas with a dog.

An inside look at one of the care packages sent to military dogs by Simsbury's animal control officer.
An inside look at one of the care packages sent to military dogs by Simsbury’s animal control officer.

“I also include a nice little note on behalf of the town of Simsbury and the state, thanking them and honoring them for their service and commitment to safeguarding our country,” Rudewicz said.

And they’ve written back, too. “Oh yeah, I’ve gotten plenty of cards and emails and pictures.” The dog handlers get some treats too.

Mark plans to keep going, because no matter how advanced our technology, there’s still nothing that compares to a dog’s nose. “Whether it’s narcotics, or in this case particularly roadside bombs or improvised explosive devices, nothing still beats the nose of that canine. Nothing can still beat that dog at detecting.”

He’s getting all those boxes ready to go. On Friday he’ll take them to Westover Air Reserve Base in Massachusetts. From there, they’ll be flown all over the world to where they’re needed.

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