Earlier today, President Donald Trump released the first image of the military working dog that was injured during Saturday’s dramatic raid that culminated in the death of ISIS leader, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi. The dog, whose name the president said remains classified (but is rumored to be Conan), was injured when al-Baghdadi chose to kill himself and three children with an explosive vest, rather than risk being taken into custody.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 28, 2019
The working dog was listed as “lightly wounded” and, according to statements made by Joint Chiefs Chairman Gen. Mark Milley, is fully recovering. According to reports, the dog was pursuing al-Baghdadi in a subterranean tunnel when the terrorist leader found himself at a dead end and chose to detonate his suicide vest. It seems likely then that the dog’s injuries could have been hearing related, as the sound wave from the explosion in an enclosed space could have been extremely damaging, even from a distance. Nonetheless, reports suggest that Conan will be able to return to full duty if he hasn’t already.
The military working dogs assigned to elite special operations units are among the best trained in the world. They tend to be German and Dutch shepherds (among other breeds), and much like their human counterparts, must first make it through a demanding selection process before beginning the rigorous training required of a K9 in such high-stakes environments. These dogs are often fitted with gear, including body armor and cameras while conducting combat operations with their human handlers.