Henlow RAF sergeant fulfils childhood dream on tour in Afghanistan
- Credit: Sgt Dan Bardsley, RLC
A sergeant in the Royal Air Force has achieved his childhood dream by working as a dog handler.
Sgt Jonathan Tanner, 44, an RAF policeman in the Defence Flying Complaints Investigations Team at RAF Henlow in Bedfordshire, is currently on a nine month tour of Afghanistan, working at the UK’s base Camp Bastion.
Accompanying him is Hertz, a two-year-old German short-haired pointer and highly-trained sniffer dog.
While working in the desert, Sgt Tanner is in charge of a team of 15 handlers who, with their dogs, provide protection around Camp Bastion and other patrol bases.
He said: “You get an enormous sense of worth and job satisfaction. You are walking around all day and night with your best friend. What more could you ask for?
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“If you want the dog to work well for you then you have to get on with the dog and develop a bond, and you do that as quickly as possible. Initially you do that at the start of the process and you and the dog become a good working team.”
As a child, Sgt Tanner loved dogs and joined the RAF in 1988 with the intention of becoming a dog handler.
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Unfortunately, Sgt Tanner has to make the most of his time working with dogs at work as, due to his wife Joanne’s allergy, he cannot have any dogs of his own at home.