Why did you choose to work as a dog handler? I love dogs, I love helping people, and I love law enforcement. I have a job that does that and more. I never would have thought that I would be finding bombs or drugs with a dog! I also wanted to challenge myself.

What kind of a relationship do dog handlers have with their dog? Most handlers have a good rapport with their military working dog, but there are also relationships that are like bad marriages and they just don’t work. My first dog as a handler I wanted to adopt. I learned a lot from him. Rico was a smart dog and loyal partner. I trusted my life with him in Bahrain. Sadly, he passed away this year. It did hurt.

What are you most proud of as a dog handler? I am most proud that I can actually make a difference as far as saving people and protecting our country. It feels good to know I make a difference to our country and the people. Knowing I am part of that is more than enough for me. I know people see this job as nothing more than “playing with dogs” but there’s more than the eye sees.

Is it tough to find dates always smelling like dog? Ha, ha. No, but I will tell you a funny story. When I first became a dog handler I always smelled like dogs after work. Once, I got off of work and I had poop on my boots from kennel care and I went into a store to get a few things before going home. As I was shopping I could see two guys arguing in the store saying that the other had farted. I had to tell them it was me and they busted out laughing before I could tell them where I worked.

You’re from Dallas. Why are people from Texas so darn proud of that state? I don’t know! We are just confident people and hey we do have the best state. What can I say ... if you go there I guarantee you will love it.

Your mother has been deployed to the Middle East with the Army several times. What is that like? Mama has gone countless times and I was scared (of her deploying) at first, but I understand the military and how it works so I accept it for what it is. But it scares me that she does have to go out there. She’s seen a lot of stuff that is hard for her to talk about. She’s going back this year, and it will be her fourth time.

You’re taking college classes right now. What are your goals? I want to be an entrepreneur in business and law and I am really interested in the forensic apprentice program. I am also interested in training dogs professionally. My personal goals are to put a house on the land I own, to learn how the money market works, and to invest in stocks. I really want a house in Hawaii (I love Hawaii!)

What kind of music are you into? I like jazz, and everything except country. I know I’m from Texas, but the old country music is so sad. They always talk about the women leaving the men in the man’s truck. The new stuff is not too bad.

Do you like K-9 movies? “Turner and Hooch” was pretty good. “Man’s Best Friend” is so “budget,” corny, generic and dumb, but I watched it at a young age and it was entertaining so I guess I still like it.

What’s the thing you’ve been most proud of as a sailor? That I represent the women of the world and that I am doing the job I do, hoping to show them that they too are capable. I represent my country and my family.

Petty Officer 2nd Class Equita BatesAge: 22Title: Military working dog handlerDuty Station: Yokosuka Naval Base

Pacific readers: Know someone whose accomplishments, talents, job, hobby, volunteer work, awards or good deeds qualify them for 15 minutes of fame? How about someone whose claim to glory is a bit out of the ordinary — even, dare we say, oddball? Call Paul Newell at Stars and Stripes with the person’s name and contact information at DSN 229-3158 or e-mail him at:

Sign Up for Daily Headlines

Sign up to receive a daily email of today's top military news stories from Stars and Stripes and top news outlets from around the world.

Sign Up Now