MARINE CORPS AIR STATION CHERRY POINT, N.C. --
Sgt. Shain Nickerson, a chief military dog trainer with the Provost Marshal’s Office, has been working with dogs for nearly six years, three of those years as a handler at Cherry Point.
“I fell in love with dogs in 2006 when I started working with one of my friends training dogs,” said Nickerson. “I loved it so much I decided to go from being an engineer to a dog handler for the Marines. Now I work with Luis, a 4-year-old German shepherd.”
Nickerson, a native of Rayland, Ohio, has been Luis’ only handler since he arrived aboard the air station in April and now spends almost every day with his dog.
Nickerson says he spends about 14 hours a day training with Luis to make sure they are prepared to complete any task they are assigned. Nickerson works with the dog during his off time and they stand 24-hour duty together.
“Being a dog handler has its difficult points,” he said. “We have to make sure these dogs are up to the standard they need to be and they are ready to do their job.”
Nickerson said despite the stressful requirements that come with being a handler, it is still a fun and exciting job.
“I spend every day with a dog” said the chief. “It doesn’t get much better than that. The best part is that I get to help and watch all the training that goes on, and it’s amazing.”