A Sergeant in the Royal Air Force is achieving a childhood dream by working in the desert in Afghanistan with a highly-trained sniffer dog.
Jonathan Tanner, 44, is working at the UK’s base Camp Bastion with Hertz, a two-year-old German Short-Haired Pointer.
Sgt Tanner, a former pupil of Heath Park High School, Wolverhampton is an RAF policeman in the Defence Flying Complaints Investigations Team, based in RAF Henlow, Bedfordshire.
Whilst in Afghanistan, Jonathan is in charge of a team of 15 Protection Dog Handlers who provide protection around Camp Bastion and other patrol bases.
He said: “You get an enormous sense of worth and job satisfaction. You are walking around all day and night with your best friend, what more could you ask for?”
Jonathan joined the RAF in 1988, and has completed operational tours in Cyprus, Portugal, Zimbabwe, Kenya, Belize, the Falklands and Iraq. On Herrick 16 he served as a vehicle search handler working at the main gate of Camp Bastion.
Joining the RAF to be a dog handler was his main goal as a child. He was obsessed with dogs and saw it as a quick way in to work with them.
He said: “If you want the dog to work well for you then you have to get on with the dog and develop a bond, and you do that as quickly as possible. Initially you do that at the start of the process and you and the dog become a good working team.”
Because of his wife Joanne’s allergy, Jonathan doesn’t have any dogs of my own at home. He is a keen runner and has completed several half marathons for his favourite charity, The Cystic Fibrosis Trust. He also plays rugby at Unit level.
He said: “I’m too old to play football now but I love to watch Wolves play at Molineux. When I’m at home I enjoy spending time with my daughters, Hazel, 13, and Zoe, 9, and enjoy growing fruit and veg.”
Footage: Defence News Imagery
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