“If you have a smelly cheese on the table in the kitchen and you open the door, you can easily feel it. Feel the smell! But if you have it in the fridge, than you have to open the door of the fridge and than you can smell it. But if you have it in the freezer, there is no way! So the same is with the detection work”.

Gordana Medunjanin, the Norwegian People Aid’s deputy training coordinator, uses a metaphor to express the importance of the work carried-out by the 110 dogs of the Global Training Center for Mine Detection Dogs. This structure is to be found in Bosnia and Herzegovina, a country where an estimated 1 million land mines were planted during the 1992-1995 conflict. I followed the daily life of deminers from the ordinary training activities to the minefield, with an exclusive access to the detonation operated by the Explosive Ordnance Disposal personnel in order to destroy all the mines and unexploded ordnance collected during the week. Located about 6 kilometers north of Sarajevo, the capital of Bosnia, this center is a leading provider of high quality Mine Detection Dogs and Explosive Detection Dogs to NPA’s programs and international partners. A Mine Detection Dog begin his training as puppy, in order to be deployed in the field, where dogs are used to delimit suspect areas from areas which are actually mined and to quality-control areas which have been cleared by machines. These dogs are not pet, they are properly trained to work with different dogs handler in conflict or post-conflict areas, all around the world. After the first testing, which takes place when puppies are 12 weeks old, they can already decide if puppies are good enough and able to continue this training or they will be good for something else. “Only the best of the best dogs could be successful mine detection dogs -concludes Mrs. Medunjanin- but still they can be very very good explosive detection dogs, they can easily detect and find a few kilos of explosive on the vehicles, at the airport or in some other place”.

WEB DOC

SMELL DANGER (2014)