The death of Osama bin Laden is one of those events where we all remember where we were when the news broke. While details emerged about the Navy SEAL Team involved, only one member’s name was widely known: Cairo, the Belgian Malinois.

But of course, Cairo wasn’t there all by himself; he had a bit of help from his human friend Will Chesney.

A Rare Breed

Will and Cairo. Photo courtesy of the United States Navy

A couple of years ago, Navy SEAL Will “Cheese” Chesney wrote a book about his best friend, Cairo. “No Ordinary Dog” (co-written with Joe Layden) first came on the market in April 2020. It garnered almost universal praise, 4.9 out of five stars on Amazon and another 4.9 out of five on Audible. People love a good dog story and a good war story, and “No Ordinary Dog” is both.

Chesney’s book is a tribute to his four-footed friend, who sadly had to be put down in April 2015 because of inoperable cancer. He still keeps the bloodstained harness Cairo wore on the bin Laden raid. His ashes are kept in a place of honor.

The book begins:

“Cairo was my dog. And I was his dad. I don’t use that term euphemistically. The relationship between a handler and a canine SEAL is profound and intimate. It goes well beyond friendship and the usual ties that bind man to dog. The training is experiential and all-encompassing, a round-the-clock immersion designed to foster not just expertise but an attachment of uncommon depth and complexity.”

SEAL Dog Cairo Belgian Malinois
A very good boy. Screenshot from YouTube and The Reserve Label

Chesney joined the Navy in 2002, but it wasn’t until 2006 that he became familiar with military working dogs following a training demonstration in Kentucky. Back in 2008, when Chesney was still looking to find his niche on the Teams, he said, “It always seemed to me that the bad guys feared our dogs more than they feared us, and maybe with good reason.

Iraqis, as a generality, tend to look at dogs as a nuisance at best and a safety hazard at worst.