Last week, on October 9, 2013, the Marshall Legacy Institute (MLI) celebrated its 16th anniversary by holding its annual Clearing the Path Gala at the Four Seasons Hotel in Washington, DC. Nearly 300 guests helped MLI honor leaders whose extraordinary efforts have improved lives in war-torn countries. One of these honorees was MLI's Mine Detection Dog (MDD) Team of the Year and MLI was very pleased to be able to recognize the incredible work of MDD Dexter and his handler, Mansur Aslanov. This incredible team has been working together since 2006, searching more than 1 million square meters of mine-affected land in Azerbaijan and saving countless lives.
Each year, MLI's partner organizations in mine-affected countries nominate mine detection dog teams that not only have worked very hard to locate landmines, but that also have a special human/dog bond that makes them unique. This year the competition was very stiff, with nominations from Afghanistan, Azerbaijan, Iraq, Lebanon, and Sri Lanka. Each dog team had its own impressive story, such as MDD Tornado and his handler in Lebanon, who located a booby-trapped landmine that was hidden next to a village and could have killed many children. Ultimately, though, MLI selected MDD Dexter and Mansur from Azerbaijan because of the sheer quantity of land they had searched, the number of mines they had located, and the stories that clearly demonstrated their strong bond and love for each other.
MDD Dexter and Mansur work with the Azerbaijan National Agency for Mine Action (ANAMA), which told MLI that they had nominated this particular team because, “MDD Dexter is one of the best MDDs that ANAMA has ever had since the establishment of the MDD program, and we hope that we will benefit from this team’s outstanding performance for as long as possible, before MDD Dexter goes to his well-deserved retirement. Dexter has saved many lives by finding explosive ammunitions in the areas that he has searched. He has never missed a mine!”
According to ANAMA, “In the minefield, Dexter and Mansur are the best team ever. Mansur has such a great confidence in Dexter, and that trust motivates other mine detection dog teams to work harder and build such a relationship. Mansur loves his dog so much and takes good care of him, and Dexter returns that love by being Mansur’s best friend.”
Thanks to your support of the Marshall Legacy Institute's Mine Detection Dog program, dogs like MDD Dexter are able to search millions of square meters of mine-affected land and save countless lives. MLI was so pleased to be able to honor this great MDD Team at our 2013 Clearing the Path Gala!
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