by Maxine from Austin

CHAMPS dog working (Marshall Legacy website)
CHAMPS dog working (Marshall Legacy website)

I think a hero can be anyone; an animal, a sports player or even a family member. But they can’t just be a hero because you think they’re cool. You have to be able to look up to them for being strong, a good influence or changing something to make the world a better place. My hero is Children Against Mines Protection, also known as CHAMPS Dogs. They make a difference in the world by making it a better and safer place.

The CHAMPS Dogs save lives by sniffing out landmines. When they sniff out landmines it takes longer than you’d expect. The CHAMPS Dogs go through lots of training. They don’t just go out in the field and wander around. Actually, it takes quite a while to sniff out the landmines, and also they have to travel around many war-torn areas. The CHAMPS Dogs are an inspiration to me and have taught me to care more for others.

Interview with Mr. Baltimore
Interview with Mr. Baltimore

I was lucky enough to sit down with Mr. Baltimore, the president of the CHAMPS program, and ask him a question. I asked him to explain the training process. I took some notes and this is a summary of what he said:

The dogs start training at age 2 and first go to obedience training for about 3 to 4 months. Then they learn to smell explosives. When a dog finds a landmine it will sit down and look at its trainer. The dogs like to work and get rewarded by getting to play with a dog toy called a kong. Then in areas that are mine-affected the dogs train about 4 months longer, and next they are tested by actually going into a minefield and locating landmines by sniffing. They work 6 to 8 years for 240 days a year. In one day the dogs can search 1,000 square miles and 1,000,000 square miles in 4 years.

If a dog stepped on a landmine it could get seriously injured, but the dogs are safe. They practically never get injured while on the job. This is because of the hard training they go through and all the time dedicated by their trainers. Also, chances of a person stepping on a landmine are much higher than the chances of a CHAMPS Dog getting hurt because they are so skilled at their job.

Maxine and Utsi
Maxine and Utsi

Another reason that the CHAMPS Dogs are my heroes is because what they do is so important. How would you feel if you lost an arm, leg or even died because you stepped on a landmine? This makes me realize just how lucky I am not to live in a war-torn area where there are landmines that could kill me.

The CHAMPS Dogs are great role models for people around the world and have been inspirational to me. That is why they are my heroes.

Page created on 12/18/2006 12:00:00 AM

Last edited 1/4/2017 9:05:51 PM

The beliefs, viewpoints and opinions expressed in this hero submission on the website are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the beliefs, viewpoints and opinions of The MY HERO Project and its staff.

Related Links

The Marshall Legacy Institute - Includes facts and information about the CHAMPS Program and more!