Behind every great American President lies an even greater team of … dogs? So one could surmise from Maria Goodavage’s new book, Secret Service Dogs, which highlights the “completely nonpartisan” agents that serve in the highest levels of government.
Among them: Emergency Response Team dogs (all Belgian Malinois), which are trained to take down bad guys–the canine equivalent of a SWAT team; Explosive Device Team dogs (also frequently Malinois), which check every vehicle that comes to the White House; and so-called friendly dogs (typically Labrador retrievers or springer spaniels), which subtly sniff White House visitors for suspicious scents.
These canines are crucial parts of America’s national security, Goodavage writes. In 2014, for example, a Malinois named Hurricane helped take down a fence jumper on the White House lawn. He was eventually given an award for valor–but first, a well-deserved hug from his owner, a big “Good boy!” and two McDonald’s burgers.
This appears in the November 07, 2016 issue of TIME.