BUDAPEST, Hungary – The Hungarian military has found a new mission in the life of a talented dog rescued from abusive owners, recruiting 2-year-old Logan to work in an anti-terrorism operation for an elite bomb squad.
At the unit’s garrison on the Danube River in the capital, Budapest, Logan receives daily socialization and obedience exercises and is trained to detect the smell of 25 different explosives.
Logan’s trainer, Sergeant, said: “He has already begun to learn how to smell explosives in a completely homogeneous environment, and he has also begun to learn how to drive a motor vehicle and search ships.” 1st class Balaj Nemeth.
Logan’s new role as a bomb sniffer came only after a troubled early life. In 2021, animal welfare officials received a tip that a dog was being tortured and kept in inhumane conditions at a rural residence in northeastern Hungary. During an on-site inspection, officers tied Logan to a one-meter (3-foot) chain and found him suffering from malnutrition.
Several weeks later, the regiment’s training officer, Nemeth, visited the shelter where Logan was being held and began evaluating his suitability for being a professional bomb sniffer.
“The first impression we got from him was very positive. We saw a well-motivated dog in relatively good condition and we immediately put our trust in him, “Nemeth said.
At an exhibition at the unit’s garrison, Nemeth opened a case containing two dozen vials of explosives, such as C-4, TNT, ammonium nitrate, and others, which Logan had been trained to detect.
After hiding a small package of explosives in a hidden crack in one of the regiment’s river boats, Nemeth brought Logan to the training area where he immediately went to work on drying the package, which he found within seconds. The dog’s body became tense as he warned his handler by pointing his nose at the source of the odor.
The regiment’s commanding officer, Colonel Josolt Silagi, said the growing use of improvised explosive devices (IEDs) by extremist cells since the turn of the millennium has created the need to use new methods to identify potential bombs.
“It was a challenge that the military had to respond to, and one of the best ways to detect these devices is to use explosives detection dogs,” Szilagyi said. “These four-legged comrades have been supporting the activities of our bomb disposal troops.”
Logan, he said, would serve as an inspector of important sites in Hungary and could be sent on NATO missions abroad with the country’s military.
Rescued dogs often present challenges in training because of their often traumatic backgrounds, Nemeth said, adding that he is confident Logan will succeed and make a valuable addition to the unit.
“Logan is extremely valuable because almost one in 10,000 rescued dogs is fit for military service, both medically and emotionally,” he said.
Recruiting rescued dogs often reveals their undiscovered abilities and allows them to find a new home where they can improve, Silagi said.
“There are dogs that have great potential but for some reason they have been pushed to the brink,” he said. “We can give these dogs a new opportunity to be placed in a family, so to speak, where they can lead a decent life with loving, competent hands and be useful.”