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Sunday, April 3, 2011

'Working Dogs of the United Nations' Event Sheet

On 7 April 2011, UNPA will issue a new event sheet commemorating the "Working Dogs of the United Nations". The sheet features 10 stamps with the United Nations emblem. In the tabs are photos of United Nations Security Dogs and their handlers in the New York, Geneva and Vienna canine units.

The UN canine units are part of the United Nations Security and Safety Services. They were established at UN Headquarters in New York in May 2004 and at UN Headquarters in Geneva in 2008. The canine unit in Vienna is fully operational since 21 March 2011.

United Nations canine dogs come from all over the world with distinct personalities and talents. In New York the canine unit uses Labradors, in Geneva a German Shepherd and in Vienna the dog of choice is the Belgian Malinois. Everyday, they come to work with their handlers to keep safe all the staffers, delegates and visitors on the UN premises. Before joining the unit, each handler has to go through a series of interviews conducted by the UN Security and Safety Services and the local state police. Once selected, they attend rigorous training courses. The handlers and their four-legged partners have to pass through increasingly difficult training scenarios, including obedience responses, building searches, land navigation and basic canine first aid, before the handlers receive certification.