MDD Rico Cosby, an eight-year-old Belgian Malinois who worked for six years in Bosnia and Herzegovina sniffing out landmines, returned to Brunswick in April to visit with Middle Schoolers — and offer a real-world demonstration of the life-saving skills he brought to his daily work in the war-torn region.
The visit was an extra special one for a very important reason: It was Brunswick students and families who in 2016 raised funds to sponsor Rico Cosby and his work with the Children Against Land Mines Program — the dog is, in fact, named after the late Brunswick icon and beloved teacher and coach Robert L. Cosby.
“It’s cool to see this come full circle,” said Henry Harris ’16, who helped raise more than $10,000 for Rico Cosby by bicycling America coast-to-coast in the summer of 2015 — a trek of more than 3,000 miles.
“It’s gone even further than I ever thought it would.”
In all, the Brunswick community raised more than $20,000 seven years ago to sponsor Rico Cosby and his training, but support for the cause continues. On April 27, Middle Schoolers got the chance to compete in an “inflatable” costume race, donning some old Halloween attire for a fun-filled contest that raised money for the CHAMPS Survivors Assistance Program, which provides prosthetics, physical therapy, and other assistance to children who have lost a limb due to landmines.
“Most of the survivors are little children,” said Deanna Smyers, advisor to the Middle School Animal Service Club. “They come into the program at five years old.”
Rico Cosby retired in 2022 and was adopted by Marshall Legacy Institute Educational Programs Director Anne Wooleyhand. Today, he serves as a canine ambassador for CHAMPS, which is run by MLI. He travels the country to teach young people, teachers, and others about the problems presented by landmines and the work that is being done.
Along with his handler, Kenan Mahira Gluhovic, Rico Cosby helped clear more than 600,000 square meters of land over his career. The pair was also a part of helping make Sarajevo “mine free” in 2020, according to the MLI website.
In all, more than 280 dogs have been trained in the CHAMPS program and not one has been killed.
This is the first time Rico Cosby has returned to Brunswick to demonstrate his skills. Last fall, he dropped in at the Upper School to visit with Senior Dean Paul Withstandley and his students.