Military Working Dog Bony

Redemption? Daniel and Military Working Dog Bony

Falsely accused,  judgment passed on him without proof, Sergeant Daniel Sandoval had been sentenced to K9 death–a career without a dog. But Sandoval is determined to come back to redeem his good name and set the record straight.

His guide to the road back? The Grey Wolf, Military Working Dog Bony.

“You failed certification on purpose, Sergeant. You don’t want to deploy, do you?”

Sergeant Daniel Sandoval’s skin began to tingle and his head to spin, but he couldn’t find the words to respond.

Avoid a deployment? Why would he do that? He had heard of handlers doing this, but that wasn’t in his nature. He knew that his fellow handlers were beginning to get fatigued with constant deployments. He had already deployed to Kosovo and Cuba, but Daniel was ready to head to combat. The problem was his Military Working Dog Marco.

The nine-year-old Belgian Malinois wouldn’t release his bite when he attacked. He also needed work on his fringe sitting. The damn dog would sit as soon as he entered the odor cone. He would be close but not directly on the scent. Daniel wanted to head back to Fort Campbell and fix Marco. Now he was being berated and dressed down when he should have been out working with Marco.

Daniel was finally able to muster, “S-s-sergeant. No. We, we just had a bad week. Marco has a frin…..”

“Bullshit, Sandoval. I know what I heard and I am tired of this crap from cowards like you. I’m getting my ass handed to me because we can’t get our teams certified. I‘m tired of guys like you.”

This was the first time Daniel had failed certification in the year he had been a dog handler. His family was already moved home to Pennsylvania in anticipation of this deployment. He was ready to go. He had no idea why he was being accused of purposely failing now.

“I am recommending to the Commander that you be removed from the kennels, Sandoval. I don’t need cancers like you round.”

Daniel had just received the kiss of death in the K9 world. It didn’t matter that he had taken a straight explosive detector dog and made him into a patrol explosive detector dog. It didn’t matter that he had never failed certification before. His side of the story didn’t matter to anyone. His name was now mud in the close-knit K9 world.

In 2007 Daniel was ostracized, sent away from the kennels, and then cast away to the recruiting world. For those years, a bitter Daniel wanted only one thing—redemption.

In 2011, at Fort Bragg, North Carolina, he finally had the chance he so desperately sought. But would the chain of command at Fort Bragg allow him the opportunity?

The Fort Bragg Kennel Master ran his eyes from Daniel’s head down to his feet—carefully surveying his new handler. Daniel trembled slightly and held his breath as he stood rigidly.

“Sergeant Sandoval. Yeah, I’ve heard about you.”

Crap, thought Daniel. This guy has already passed judgment on me.

“Sergeant, let me explain. I didn’t……..”

The Sergeant First Class kennel master raised his hand towards Daniel and said, “Shut up Sandoval. You just do your damn job. I’ll take care of the politics and chatter around here. Is that understood?”

Daniel blinked slowly several times, processed what had just been said, and finally released the air captured in his lungs. He was going to get his chance at redemption.

But would he really get a fair shake in this kennel? His kennel master was only one guy. What would the other handlers think of him? Nothing mattered right now though. His kennel master was offering him his only chance. He wasn’t about to blow it.

“Roger, Sergeant First Class. I won’t let you down,” Daniel said firmly.

“OK, good. I am assigning you to Military Working Dog Bony, the grey wolf. He is an experienced dog who likes to do things his way. You get like that when you are the grey beard of the kennel. Let’s go see him.”

Likes to do his own thing? Wolf? What the hell? Was the kennel master trying to sabotage him and give him a crappy dog? He kept his mouth shut.

“Bony just had Pexi surgery to prevent his stomach from turning and causing bloat,” the kennel master informed him.

They stopped and Daniel peered into the kennel curiously.

He surveyed the massive German Shepherd who stared back at him with mild curiosity. His once black ears, now mixed with grey, perked and stood straight up. The Shepherd’s once black muzzle was now intermixed with grey. It wasn’t just his face, though. Bony had grey all over him. His body was long and thick. How old is this dog, thought Daniel?

It was like his kennel master could read his mind. “Bony is nine. He’s been a MWD for seven years. He already has two deployments. He thinks he runs this place. Your first mission will be to show him he doesn’t.”

Bony stood up and calmly strolled to the kennel door and sniffed Daniel’s outstretched hand. He didn’t linger, choosing instead to return to his bed.

“Looks like you have some work to do, Sandoval,” his kennel master said as he marched back up the kennel toward his office.

Daniel watched the man go and then turned to the Wolf Dog who had his eyes shut and was now sleeping. Daniel knew his kennel master was right. It was time for Sergeant Daniel Sandoval to reclaim his good name.

Part II of this story is now published!

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29 thoughts on “Redemption? Daniel and Military Working Dog Bony

    1. Kevin Hanrahan Post author

      Thanks Steve. Writing on the blog helps develop my writing. Plus I love telling these stories.

    1. Kevin Hanrahan Post author

      I gotta write it first Mary! LOL. I am tweaking Danica Part II for next week though!

  1. Sabrina

    Thank you for telling his story!!! I am Daniels wife, and I have Always been very proud of him. I’m so glad that he was given this chance to prove himself – he and bony are doing a great job!

    1. Kevin Hanrahan Post author

      Hi Sabrina. It is an honor for me to tell their story. I’m sure Daniel has told you…… but I have know him for a long time. I know what type of Soldier and person you have married. I’m proud that he had the determination to set the record straight. I’m proud of him for rising above the drama and excelling. He is a great example for young Soldiers.

  2. Rick Sandoval

    Danny will prove them all wrong. Our family has a very strong military tradition in every major conflict from WWII, Korea, Vietnam, Middle East and others. We have never, ever skirted our duties and never, ever will. Danny exemplifies the dedication and commitment that the Sandoval family possess … to never quit. We are proud beyond words of my son, his brothers and sister in the military. Good article and as noted, this is just the beginning.

    1. Kevin Hanrahan Post author

      You know Rick…… Daniel didn’t have to explain anything to me when he first told me what happened. As I told Sabrina…I’ve know Daniel since he was a young Soldier. I understand his morale fiber and where he comes from. I’m incredibly proud of the way he has Soldiered on. He could have easily put his head in the ground and hidden. But as you mention…this is not what…or who he is. He clearly gained these attributes from his family. He is taking back what is rightfully his….he is fighting to regain his good name.

  3. Commo Bill

    I served with both of you in the 127th. I am glad to see Daniel get a chance to tell his side and get a fair shake in a public forum.

    You do him a great honor by publishing his story.

    1. Kevin Hanrahan Post author

      Speed and Power Bill! The great thing about this whole story is where Daniel is today….. A military career and I would imagine most civilian careers are full of adversity…..the true test of a person is how they respond to that adversity. Anyone can be good when things are great.

  4. Julia Hugo Rachel

    We are ROOTING for Sandoval! I Have a sneaking suspicion that Bony- Grey Wolf- has a few curve balls to throw along their journey!

    I hope Sandoval knows how much he is supported and how much of an inspiration he is to others by his exemplary attitude, perserverance, integrity and hard work.

    His passion for K-9′s is undeniable and he seems like he has intuitive sensibility when working with dogs. That goes beyond “by the book training”. Can’t wait to hear about this handler IN action!

    Thank you for this story.


    1. Kevin Hanrahan Post author

      I think you are right Julia…that darn grey wolf is going to throw Daniel for some loops. :-) I love this story though…. as you mention….his exemplary attitude, perseverance, integrity and hard work ….. are all examples for all to follow. I’m so happy for him that he has this chance to prove to himself. I also love that the chance came from the unit I just left. (Proud of my people for seeing through the BS!)

      1. Julia Hugo Rachel

        Your Unit? NICE!

        Godspeed to Sandoval and Grey Wolf Bony. Can’t wait to hear more. Fingers, toes crossed and praying for these two!

        1. Kevin Hanrahan Post author

          Hi Julia….Daniel was one of my Soldiers when I was a Company Commander back in 2004. I know fully what type of Soldier he is……

          I am honored to tell their story. Plus Bony is the coolest!

  5. Barbara Garvey

    Nicely written. You have left me hanging, I want to know more. I am looking forward to the next chapter.

    1. Kevin Hanrahan Post author

      Thank you Barbara. I love a good redemption story! Daniel has something to prove……most importantly to himself.

  6. Theresa Donnelly

    That is how I felt too. Great story. I love how you are using this blog and the power of social media to get the word out about your writing. It’s a great way to bring the community into what you are doing. Life is so full of setbacks ~ they suck, but they make us strong.

    You got me hooked! I want to know what happens next…

    1. Kevin Hanrahan Post author

      Thank you Theresa. Dogs are certainly a powerful force! I’ll work on the next piece in this series soon….this is def a compelling story!

  7. Pingback: Daniel and Bony Part III: All Roads Lead to Afghanistan | Kevin Hanrahan

  8. Pingback: Daniel and the Wolf Dog Part II | Kevin Hanrahan

  9. Pingback: Daniel & MWD Bony Part V: Laughter Turns to Tragedy | Kevin Hanrahan

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