Cogwheel Archive

Rotary Cogwheel | 11.06.2014

November 6, 2014

Today: Jonathan Adams, RESTORE Project Director (V. Dilley)

Birthdays: Sue Boxrud (11/5) and David Brown (11/6)

Next Week: Nick Frohner, Asian Carp (Anderson)

Last Week:

Sam Daly will choose a dog over a drone every time if it is bombs he wants detected.

His three years in Afghanistan training “bomb sniffing” dogs for the U.S. Marine Corps have convinced him of that.

“Despite all of the gadgets, dogs detect 30 percent more IEDs (improvised explosive devices) than all the other gadgets combined,” he said.

The owner of Northfield Kennels said a poor economy at home persuaded him to put his kennel business on hold and answer a call to take his dog-training skills overseas in 2011. This was the first time the military used off-leash dogs for this work. While it exposes the dogs to danger, it ultimately protects soldiers.

Sam said high-spirited athletic dogs, such as retrievers, Labradors and German Shepherds make the best bomb sniffers. They respond to laughter and play, and form strong emotional bonds with the handlers. Yet, the Marines are reminded that the dog is there because it is a “bomb detection asset,” not a companion.

In the sizzling Afghanistan heat, the dogs work for short, 20-minute spurts. They are hydrated to cool their core temperature and then sent back out. They are often the targets of the insurgents who plant the bombs because they know the dogs are good at what they do.

The dogs are subject to physical and emotional injury. Sam said there is such a thing as canine post traumatic stress disorder. Some also suffer separation anxiety when their tour is over.

Dogs do re-up once they have been recertified and retrained. Some have had five or six deployments. Once they reach the age of 8, they are retired and eligible for adoption, sometimes to their handlers.

Sam is now back working in Northfield. He trains dogs for law enforcement agencies, for service work, hunting and families.


John Fossum and Sam Daly go way back. They’ve been part of each other’s life for almost 45 years. They went through school together in Northfield, graduating in 1983.

John went to Macalester College and moved back to Northfield in 1996 to practice law. At the time, Sam was operating Northfield Kennels.

John moved to Switzerland for a year and then worked in Afghanistan, training police and prosecutors. Sam also did a tour of duty in Afghanistan training dogs for bomb detection.

John is married to Tracy Fossum and they have one daugher, Liv.

Guests: Lydia, Giulia, Marcelo and Philipy (Rich), Rachel Estrella (Halverson), Tracy Fossum and Deb Sibley (Fossum).

Scholarship Enhancement: John Stull

First Job: Personally, I can’t picture Jim Pokorney doing manual labor. I think of him as more of an idea man. But preconceptions aside, he tells us he broke into the wonderful world of work shoveling coal for three weeks for a city public utility at $2 an hour. I bet he was waxing philosophic the whole time.


— Vicky Langer received a nod for her good work coordinating interviews of prospective outbound exchange students. She recognized the volunteers who were interviewers or observers.

— New member orientation will be Monday, Nov. 10, noon at Community Resource Bank. Lunch will be provided and entertaining speakers are promised. This is open to all members. Consider it a Rotary refresher.

— Rob Bierman is now actively recruiting for volunteers to help with our Thanksgiving Turkey Trot, one of our most productive fundraisers. He is still in need of someone to refresh the Turkey Trot signs. If you are going to be in town that morning, you are invited to sign up to be a registrar or a course monitor. Both require little heavy-lifting.

Past Northfield Rotary Club meeting videos on Youtube: NorthfieldRotaryClubVideos

Coming Up:

Nov. 20 — Stacey Zell, Northfield Hospital Sleep Center (Schlichting)


Dec. 4 — District Governor DG Karel (Cogan)