Dogs: Detecting Landmines, Building Peace Transcript

Printer-friendly version

Transcript to Dogs: Detecting Landmines, Building Peace Video

Marvin Kalb: One of the lasting scars of war are the thousands of land mines that are left behind after the fighting ends. The Institute of Peace works with military and civilian partners to promote the rebuilding of war-ravaged societies. Helping in these efforts are the specially trained dogs who clear minefields, enabling farmers to work the land again. In this way, dogs become peacebuilders. Here is their story:

Perry Baltimore: One third of the world’s countries suffer from mines.

(Sounds of explosives.)

A highly trained dog can find these mines that have explosives in them. Today, there are over 900 dogs working in the minefields sniffing out mines and saving and improving lives.

I’m Perry Baltimore. I’m the President and Executive Director of the Marshall Legacy Institute. It helps war-torn countries that have been suffering the scourge of landmines.

(Sounds of explosion.)

We began in 1997, which is the year I retired from the U.S. military after 27 years of service.

When you are looking for a landmine, they’re hard to find. The dog is trained to walk in a perfectly straight line, keeping its nose to the ground, sniffing all of the land as it goes along, and looking for the explosive odor. Then an ordnance disposal expert disarms that weapon of war.

Truly, these are dogs of peace. These dogs are saving and improving lives so that children can play in safety, walk to school in safety, and so that land can be farmed in safety.

Long after the ink has dried on the peace agreements, long after the bullets stop flying, people keep dying because of these landmines that are left hidden in the fields.

(Sound of explosion.)

There are tens of millions of these buried in the ground just waiting for the unsuspecting foot of a mom, a dad or a child. And this mine neither knows nor cares who or what causes this plunger to be depressed.

It’s dangerous work, hazardous work. Every 30 minutes or so, there is a person—happy, hopeful—that loses a life or loses a limb. For every dog, there are tens of thousands of people that are able to bring life back to the villages that have suffered so horribly.

Now, we just happen to have one of these dogs with us today. Today, Utsi, although retired from operational mine fields, we take her all around the country. We visited several hundred schools, and by learning about the wonderful life-saving work that people and dogs are doing all around the world, we can get the children interested in peace.

Woman Instructor: So we’re going to go ahead and let her get started.

Perry Baltimore: Children fall in love with her, with her work. When she finds it, she sits still. She only turns her head to look at the handler.

And this is what inspires us. The wonderful work that these dogs, like Utsi, do in the field. In recent years, we have found that a lot more mines are coming out of the ground. It makes such a wonderful difference for the people. It’s our hope that within this next generation, the world can be made mine safe.