Premieres Wednesday, November 11 at 8 PM ET/PT on Smithsonian Channel
SEAL DOG, a new one-hour Smithsonian Channel special, tells the story of former Navy SEAL Trevor Maroshek and his amazing war dog, Chopper. For the last eight years, Trevor and Chopper have been inseparable, having trained together, fought together, and even surfed together. And along the way, each has saved the other's life. Now in retirement, Chopper works as a therapy dog helping Trevor heal from the psychological and physical wounds of war. This new one-hour program premieres on Veterans Day, Wednesday, November 11 at 8 p.m. ET/PT.
As a part of the U.S. military's highly-skilled Special Operations team, Trevor was deployed four times around the globe and helped develop the SEAL's first canine combat unit. In 2007, he was tasked with creating a program to train dogs to do everything Navy SEALs do, including parachuting from aircraft and fast-roping from helicopters. These canines are so remarkable that the U.S. Navy used a SEAL dog, Cairo, in its secret mission to find and kill Osama bin Laden.
Vice President Biden met with Trevor and Chopper at the White House last year. In the special, Vice President Biden says, "These dogs have saved hundreds and hundreds of lives. They're amazing animals, and there's a lot of people home today, healthy, because of a dog."
SEAL DOG reveals one incident in Afghanistan when, thanks to a unique canine "sixth sense," Chopper saved Trevor and his teammates from an ambush. Acting on a tip that Taliban soldiers had been spotted near their base, the SEALs went out to search the area. Trevor gave Chopper the signal to follow his instincts. "He took one big whiff and just bolted like a lightning bolt right into the bushes," Trevor recalls. By the time the soldiers caught up with him, Chopper had attacked two enemy combatants and potentially saved the lives of dozens of Special Forces team members.
The training program developed by Trevor now produces a small number of K-9 superheroes, chosen for their super high drive and incredible endurance. Unlike most military working dogs that have one area of expertise, SEAL dogs are trained in five: explosive detection; tracking search and rescue; laser target acquisition; sixth sense training; and bite work. They can swim long distances, fast-rope out of helicopters, and sense when danger is nearby. Like their SEAL handlers, they are virtually unflappable.
While on covert missions, these super dogs wear amazing gear that includes bulletproof body armor, high definition cameras, and specially designed "doggles" with infrared and night vision capabilities.
After retiring from the Navy, Trevor formed the Seal Dog Foundation to provide war veterans with service dogs.