Our brave Indian Army has really been critical in neutralizing terrorists in the counter-insurgency operations, but somebody who has been their silent companion throughout the missions were the Army Pets – Tractor and Sam operation by detecting an Improvised Explosive Device (IED) or alerting troops about suspicious movements.
'Tractor', a Rottweiler, and 'Sam', a German Shepherd, have been deployed with an unit of army's Rashtriya Rifles, which keeps a vigil on sensitive areas of south Kashmir covering Kokernag, Achabal, Magam forests and Pahalgam.
After a long, hard day at work in, 'Tractor' and 'Sam' trudge into their respective camps located in a remote village of south Kashmir and get a hero's welcome each day. Some of the army personnel pat them while others throw a ball and some offer biscuits for a great job done by the two canines during an anti-militancy.
Both had the distinction of being part of the operation in which young Hizbul Mujahideen terrorist Burhan Wani and two others were killed on July 8.
"After the successful operation, these two colleagues of mine also had a sense of relief along with other team mates," says an army Major referring to 'Tractor' and 'Sam'.
They are fondly taken care of and engaged by soldiers who devote a considerable free time of theirs to give company to their "colleagues" who keep a watch when they sleep in their make-shift tents or accommodation or walk down the roads which could be mined by terrorists.
Sniffing out an IED planted on a road or chasing a runaway terrorist or alerting a possible intrusion are some of the duties that these dogs have been performing with aplomb.
"When nation sleeps, people know that we are awake and when we take a nap, we know that these (dogs) are awake," says an army officer as he fondly pats 'Sam' and 'Tractor' who had detected an IED on Dailgam-Achabal road.
The canines besides performing the duties in counter- insurgency operations also act as "stress-busters" for the troops who like to play with us, says a handler.