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Military working dog featuring Senior Airman Clifton Giles and his dog Jerry

Senior Airman Clifton Giles, 11th security support squadron military working dog handler, starts his day by grooming his dog, Jerry, on Joint Base Andrews, Md., March 12, 2019. Giles uses this time at the start of his shift to bond with Jerry and prepare for their duties. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Noah Sudolcan)

Military working dog featuring Senior Airman Clifton Giles and his dog Jerry

Senior Airman Clifton Giles, 11th security support squadron military working dog handler, and his dog, Jerry, pose for a picture on Joint Base Andrews Md., March 12, 2019. Giles and Jerry have worked together since February 2018. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Noah Sudolcan)

Military working dog featuring Senior Airman Clifton Giles and his dog Jerry

Senior Airman Clifton Giles, 11th security support squadron military working dog handler, and his dog, Jerry, start their daily routine of grooming on Joint Base Andrews Md., March 12, 2019. Giles and Jerry, whose relationship is built on trust, use this time to strengthen their bond. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Noah Sudolcan)

Military working dog featuring Senior Airman Clifton Giles and his dog Jerry

Senior Airman Clifton Giles, 11th security support squadron military working dog handler, and his dog, Jerry, stand at the main gate as a show of force on Joint Base Andrews Md., March 12, 2019. Giles and Jerry occasionally stand at the front gate to deter possible threats to the base. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Noah Sudolcan)

Military working dog featuring Senior Airman Clifton Giles and his dog Jerry

Jerry, 11th security support squadron military working dog, poses for a photo on Joint Base Andrews Md., March 12, 2019. Jerry, a bomb dog, often sweeps areas on base, to include the Base Exchange and the Main Gate. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Noah Sudolcan)

Military working dog feature with Senior Airman Clifton Giles and his dog Jerry

Senior Airman Clifton Giles, 11th security support squadron military working dog handler, and his dog, Jerry, pose for a picture on Joint Base Andrews, Md. Giles and Jerry sweep aircraft and other facilities on base for explosives. (U.S. Air Force courtesy photo)

JOINT BASE ANDREWS, Md. --

How long have you been working with the dog?

- February of 2018

How do you like working with him?

- I love it. I always have someone to talk to, whether he’s listening or not. I get to see the work we put in. If he has an issue with something, we spend time to fix the issue and you can see the progression of the work you put in.

Take me through the first time you met him?

- So the first time I met Jerry, I was sitting here in the handlers’ office getting ready for the day, watching the more-seasoned handlers train. I sat there at the computer and one of the trainers walked in and said, ‘Hey, you’re going to start doing rapport walks.’ I walked into Jerry’s cage and his tail was wagging and I said, ‘Oh yea I like this dog.’

How has your relationship grown?

- It’s all about trust and at the beginning he would not listen to me at all, but now he listens the very first time. He knows I’m going to come in and take care of him when before he would kind of blow me off. If I said come he wouldn’t come. Now all I have to do is say, ‘Come. Sit. Heel,’ and he does it immediately.    We’re still bonding because it usually takes about a year to fully build that trust.

Take me through a challenging time on the job or during training?

- On the job, being here at Joint Base Andrews, the mission is pretty important. We might be called to the flightline for a distinguished visitor and at the same time we’ll have a canine sweep at a gate. It can be challenging having to stay flexible, move quickly and control Jerry at the same time. Juggling his body temperature, proper food amounts and rest while meeting mission requirements is pretty difficult.

What is his personality like?

- Oh he’s like a little kid, he’s a little boy. The saying, ‘You give them an inch and they’ll take a mile,’ that’s my dog. So accountability is a huge thing. He is very playful but at the same time very smart, very intelligent.

Most rewarding experience with the dog?

- I would have to say it’s a very humble experience, just spending a little bit of time with him when I first get to work and grooming on the table outside. To spend that time is so rewarding to me. We have a chance to connect, I’m brushing him, grooming him and checking his ears, and different things like that. He’ll kind of rub up against me and I love that because we have that connection and that’s very rewarding to me.

What’s the one thing that you just know you have full trust in him?

- What’s very rewarding working with Jerry is I can trust him to do his job. Our job, sweeping aircraft and areas, I know that if he encountered something that’s not supposed to be there he will let me know. His nose is everything and everyone’s life depends on the dog’s nose.

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