How Animals’ Skills are Put to Work
23rd May 2019
How animals’ skills are put to work
Animals have skills that are vital to so many of us in our everyday life. Dogs can help the blind, horses aid our police forces and rats even help military personnel find land minds. For some jobs, animals are simply much more suitable than humans.:
Dogs on the job
Our canine friends may be the most common working animal. Some of us work in the dog industry — check out our great insurance policies if you do! Animals’ skills are seemingly endless and are continuously put to the test across many forms. One such form is as a guide dog, in a bid to help blind people to carry on with regular day-to-day life as normal as possible.
There are also military dogs and canines that are part of our forces. In the police force, the K-9 unit is made up of highly-skilled and trained dogs whose main duties are to help officers on the beat, firearms support, searching, tracking, criminal work, sporting events, narcotics and explosives detection, scanning people for narcotics and weapon detection. For general purpose dogs, German Shepherds, Belgian Malinois and Dutch Herders are usually used because of their stature. All police dogs are specifically trained to ensure they are extremely obedient.
The Armed Forces also have a section for a dog force. Here, springer spaniels are used as arms and explosive search dogs. Buster the pooch is believed to have been on more tours than any other military dog, helping to save thousands of lives with the RAF by signaling bombs and booby traps. Sadly, he has since passed away.
Of course, there are also sheepdogs. When taught correctly, this breed can save a shepherd or farmer a lot of time and effort by gathering, handling and driving sheep to the location you want them. It can do so without disturbing the flock or putting them under stress. They do this by gathering the sheep in a pear-shaped outrun.
In a similar fashion to dogs, police forces use horses as a ‘presence’ and deterrent. They usually help with crowd control at big events or demonstrations and offer extra height and visibility to the officers. During training, the horses are deployed to a number of scary situations and sounds for ‘nuisance’ training. This helps the force be confident that they won’t be phased if they are involved in any altercation in the line of duty.
Naturally, horses are also used as a mode of transport in some situations. On the Gili Islands in Indonesia for example, horse, foot and pedal power are your only options to get around the island – there are no cars or motorbikes!
The military take dolphins’ unique skills into consideration to enable them perform underwater tasks. Thanks to their advanced sonar-like system, dolphins can easily detect mines and intruders that are lying deep in murky waters. In a similar fashion, the US military also uses the vision of sea lions to complete tasks of this nature.
This rodent is well known for having a strong sense of smell. Because of this, the African giant pouched rats are able to sniff out potentially deadly land mines and because they are light, the don’t blow up, which allows us to locate these devices and safely dispose of them. Training a rat to do this takes approximately nine months and, as a treat, the animals are given food such as bananas.
The Prime Minister of the United Kingdom even has a working pet. While the Royal Family may have its corgis, 10 Downing Street welcomes a cat through its doors. However, this is not simply a companion for the PM. Britain’s leader welcomes a feline and appoints it ‘chief mouser’, with its main task being to protect the building from mice and other rodents. This role can be tracked back as far as the 1500s during the reign of Henry VIII.
The little flying fuzzballs offer more than just honey. It turns out that they are able to detect chemicals and indicate which has been released into the air by making a certain buzzing sound. This has helped us detect chemicals in our environment and has even be considered as a useful tool if ever there were chemical warfare attacks!
Of course, this list could host many other animals. Each and every one has their own use. It’s clear to see that animals have so much to offer and humans should be grateful that we grace this earth with such skillful creatures.
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