Naval Station Everett's kennel master shares details about his job working with the "best dogs in the business," providing security on base and, sometimes, joining combat operations around the world.

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NAVAL STATION EVERETT KENNEL MASTER
Master-at-Arms 1st Class Petty Officer Joshua Johnson

What do you do? I am a U.S. Navy military working dog kennel master. I work with a military working dog (MWD) and supervise the Navy’s MWD teams here at Naval Station Everett.

How did you get that role? While I was an active duty sailor in Florida, I started working with MWDs in 2007 as a support person, doing all the dirty work such as feeding, cleaning up after the dogs and setting up training events for the teams to work on. Then I got the recommendation from my superiors to attend the actual handlers’ course in San Antonio, Texas.

What’s a typical day like? My typical day starts by coming in and feeding the dogs, then cleaning their kennels. Then we load up the dogs to go out on patrol. Once we are out on patrol, we are either checking buildings by conducting walking patrols or traveling to other bases for training evolutions [exercises]. In between security patrols, we conduct either detection training (of drugs and explosives) or patrol training (bite work). I try to get out and interact with the public and educate them on working-dog safety. On occasion, we get called up to assist Secret Service with different events going on around the world. While conducting all these things, I am still responsible for supervising five other dog teams and helping advance the careers of the junior sailors who work under me.

What’s the best part of the job? One of the best parts of my job is knowing that not one day is ever going to be the same as the last. I get to see and interact with different people. I hope people seeing us around gives them a little more sense of security. Plus, I get to work with the best dogs in the business. Being in the K-9 field, we get to meet and interact with a variety of handlers from both civilian and military law enforcement, which helps everyone by providing different points of view, and helps us to always advance our training to the next level.

What surprises people about your work? One thing that is surprising to people is that one week we can be conducting normal law enforcement activities, and the next week, we can be anywhere in the world, leading the way in combat operations. Our job has a wide range of responsibilities that make us a very versatile asset to the military in general.

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