Pristina - German Shepherd Chara was born in the Poltava Region of Ukraine in 2014, and at the tender age of 3 months began her military career. Corporal Denis Ivanov, Chara’s handler, is somewhat older. He started his career in the Ukrainian Military in 2015. He was appointed to the position of senior dog handler of service dogs in the engineering military compound. After signing a contract, Denis was paired with his first service dog Chara, and they have been together ever since. In 2016 they shared operational deployments to Eastern Ukraine.
In 2019, Chara and Denis were selected after successfully passing the selection for the mine detecting team for KFOR, the NATO-led mission in Kosovo.
Chara and Denis train every day to discover explosive materials. In a typical exercise, Chara has to clear the route ahead ensuring the obstacles are clear of explosive material before troops can proceed. Chara goes forward on command, her nose investigating every nook and cranny of the damaged vehicle which could contain an improvised explosive device. Dogs have about 300 million receptors in their noses; humans have about six million. Their brains are 40 times greater than ours in regard to scent. Obeying hand signals from Denis, Chara quickly but diligently inspects the obstacle. If explosive material is present she can indicate this to Denis by sitting before it. For Chara it’s a game that always comes rewarded by Denis. Chara’s special training allows the KFOR Explosive Ordnance Disposal element of the Joint Logistic Support Group to more rapidly discover explosive materials, allowing KFOR units to implement a safe and secure environment and freedom of movement.