Category Archives: police dog

Paintings of Animal Heroes

Freddy

By Sue Hains

In the winter of 2009 – 2010, I was commissioned to paint a picture of Freddy, an FBI dog who had been killed in service. In preparation for working on the portrait, I was sent a photo of Freddy but required other pictures of Belgian Malinois, Freddy’s breed, since some details in his photo were unclear. Searching online, I began to learn about service animals and discovered that Belgian Malinois are often chosen to become Military Working Dogs and police dogs. As I painted, I received emails about Freddy’s life, death and memorial service, and thought more and more about the life of this heroic animal.

Freddy was born in 2007, and served with the FBI from September 8, 2008 to October 28, 2009. The FBI had raided a warehouse being used as a mosque in Dearborn, Michigan, looking for several of its members who were wanted for a number of crimes. The Imam, who had a criminal record and refused to surrender, shot the FBI dog, Freddy, before the Imam himself was fatally shot by agents. Freddy was helicoptered to a veterinary hospital in Detroit, and although the doctors did everything they could to save his life, the wounds were fatal.

At his memorial service in Virginia, local police motorcycle officers escorted Freddy’s flag-draped casket to the FBI Academy, where the FBI Chaplain gave a moving invocation and where K-9 Police Officers and their dogs stood at attention behind a large crowd which included the veterinarians who tried to save his life. Other speakers followed and it was said that Freddy not only fit in with his team but also saw the humans as his pack!

The brass plaque added to the portrait I painted of Freddy reads:

FREDDY

February 17, 2007 – October 28, 2009
Then I heard the voice of the Lord
saying, “Whom shall I send?  And
who will go for us?”  And I said,
“Here am I.  Send me!”
Isaiah 6:8

Read More »

EmailGoogle GmailBlogger PostTwitterFacebookGoogle+Share

An Unforgettable “Citizen Ride Along” with K-9 Samson

By Julia Williams

Most cities have programs where civilians can spend a few hours riding shotgun with a police officer out on patrol. It’s a great way for ordinary citizens to get a behind-the-scenes look at law enforcement, whether for a future career or just to satisfy their curiosity. As a Journalism student in college, I was assigned to the “police beat” and took many such rides. For a young girl who’d never been in trouble with the law, these adventures were all quite fascinating, but one in particular was unforgettable. I was allowed to go on patrol with a K-9 cop and his four-legged partner, a German Shepherd named Samson. Decades later, I can still vividly recall this ride along.

It was a dark and stormy night. Just kidding! It was probably a night like any other for Officer Kaiser and Samson. As for me, I could feel the excitement in the air. I was ready for the “action” I hoped would ensue, because I wanted to write a story that would blow the socks off my Journalism teacher.

Prior to riding with Samson, I’d been forewarned by fellow officers that “the dog stunk to high heaven, paced back and forth all night, and barked at anything and everything.” Most of that was true, but I’ll get to that in a minute.

When I first saw Samson, he was inside the police car. Kaiser called Samson over, ordered him to “stay” and sauntered back to the car. I said something dumb like “Nice doggy” as I held my breath and waited for him to bite my leg. He didn’t bite, of course, and off we went on patrol. Samson rode in the back seat; a partition separated us, but this didn’t stop him from periodically sticking his furry face through a little window to lick mine.

We drove around for a long time, and just when I thought we’d never see any “action,” a call came over the radio about a fight at a liquor store. Kaiser spun the car around, flipped on the lights and accelerated. Samson went wild in the back seat, barking and pacing in a frenzy. When we arrived at the scene, three men were standing around a hippie sitting on a moped. Fighting? Not so much. I was disappointed.

Read More »

Pentagon “Working Dogs” are Powered by CANIDAE

By Julia Williams

Did you know the Pentagon has two dozen highly trained K9 teams that are used to detect explosives, search vehicles, and patrol the premises to keep them safe? I didn’t until recently when Sarah Lagasse, K9 Sergeant at the Pentagon Police Department, contacted CANIDAE customer service. Sarah wrote to ask for some CANIDAE Pet Food banners or posters for their new kennel facility, because she said many of the Pentagon working dogs eat the food and not only that – they really thrive on it! I spoke with her recently to get more information on the Pentagon dogs and their very important jobs. Sarah’s current K9 partner is Aldo, a 4 year old Golden Retriever (soon to be 5) she’s been working with since 2008. Here’s what she had to say:

What is a typical day like for you and Aldo?
Aldo’s duties are to detect explosives and be a deterrent. Our normal day usually begins with his exercise (playing ball), then he rides to work with me. We conduct roll call and give out the assignments for the other teams. We sometimes work at the Pentagon Remote Delivery Facility where all delivery vehicles are screened by K9 teams, and we do random patrols all over the Pentagon Reservation. We respond to calls for unattended items, bomb threats and many other types of calls.  We also provide K9 support to visiting dignitaries, often searching their hotel suites and motorcades. We fit exercise, grooming and training in as often as possible.

What is Aldo’s temperament like?
Aldo is a typical Golden Retriever – he is very sweet, playful and loves everyone.

What part of his job does Aldo like most and least?
Aldo likes to search; when he is working, he is happy! When we work the receiving facility a lot, he doesn’t seem to care for it much since he is searching a lot of vehicles numerous times a day and I think he gets a little bored. I have to keep his mind in the game, so our trainers will secretly put training aids (explosives) on vehicles so he will find them, get his ball and get excited to work again. We do this with all of the dogs since even as handlers, we get tired of these searches after doing that specific job for many hours straight.

Read More »

Special Achievers: Denver Explosive Detection Canine Unit

By Linda Cole

Bomb sniffing dogs and their handlers are one of our most reliable defenses against hidden explosive devices. These highly trained canines and handlers help keep our airports, borders and cities safe. I recently had the honor of talking with Officer Armando Cruz of the Denver Police Department Explosive Detection Canine Unit. Officer Cruz and his dog, Masc, are both skilled in the art of bomb sniffing – well, Masc does the sniffing – and Officer Cruz and Masc are stationed at the Denver International Airport along with seven other canine teams. CANIDAE is proud to sponsor this Explosive Detection Canine Unit through its Special Achievers program.

The DPD K-9 unit has three Labs, four German Shepherds and one Belgian Malinois. Along with their duties at the Denver airport, they also respond to calls in the Denver area and other jurisdictions when asked. The mission of the DPD Explosive Detection Canine Unit is to detect and prevent criminals from being able to use explosive devices by finding them before they can cause damage or injuries. Established in 1972, the dog teams are a proven and reliable balance to the DPD’s counter-sabotage program, and they help prevent terrorist attacks.

Read More »

CANIDAE Helps Take a Bite Out of Crime


By Julia Williams

The handsome Belgian Malinois pictured here is Baco, a hard-working K9 who helps fight crime in the Southern California city of Pomona. CANIDAE graciously donated Baco to the Pomona Police Department a year ago, to replace a patrol dog who died from cancer. Officer Theo Joseph is Baco’s human partner on the force (also called a handler), and Baco is his third police dog.

I spoke with Officer Joseph recently to get an update on how Baco has been doing this past year. As it turns out, Baco just recently caught his first bad guy. This “K9 rite of passage” is an important test, as it tells the handler much about the dog, what he has learned, and how he’s likely to perform in the future. According to Officer Joseph, Baco handled his first apprehension of a bad guy (two of them, actually) really well, and shows great promise as a police dog.

With his first bite behind him, Baco can now attend a six-week training for narcotic detection. This cross-training is valuable because it will make Baco an even more useful member of the force. If Baco’s sensitive canine nose detects drugs in a vehicle, Officer Joseph has probable cause to search without needing to obtain a warrant.

Although Baco knows many English words, he has been trained to respond only to commands in Dutch. This can be useful to the officer, since it prevents criminals from knowing what commands are being given. In fact, it’s not uncommon for them to mistakenly think that a command to apprehend is the dog’s name. Whereupon, instead of calming the menacing dog in front of them by calling his name, the criminal is actually saying “grab me, grab me.” Don’t tell the bad guy this, but no matter what he says it won’t cause the dog to retreat or attack, because K9s are taught to respond only to their handler.

Dog officers develop extremely close bonds with their K9 partners, largely because they are with them 24/7. Their dogs go to work with them every day and spend evenings and weekends at their home. “I spend more time with Baco than I do with my family,” joked Officer Joseph.

On those rare occasions when he works a shift without Baco, Officer Joseph said it feels strange. It’s not just the companionship of a dog that he misses, however. Baco’s mere presence can prevent physical confrontations with criminals and diffuse potentially deadly situations. Officer Joseph described an incident where a stand-off occurred between a suspect and police. The man was willing to fight eight officers, but when he heard the bark of just one police dog, he surrendered immediately. This is a perfect illustration of how tremendously valuable K9s are to law enforcement.

Baco eats premium-quality CANIDAE dog food, of course, alternating between the All Life Stages and Chicken & Rice formulas. Officer Joseph believes that the CANIDAE food helps Baco be a better police dog because it gives him the high level of energy he needs, doesn’t cause digestion issues, and satisfies his ravenous appetite.

Although Baco takes his police work seriously, Officer Joseph said he’s also a laidback, low-key canine. This is in stark contrast to the officer’s last K9 partner, another Belgian Malinois named Zorro described as a “Type A” personality. Zorro is retired from the force and lives at home with the family along with Baco and a third dog, a Husky. When he’s not fighting crime, Baco enjoys playing tug-of-war and keep-away with his favorite toy, a plastic bone. He likes country music, and snores while sleeping.

Talking with Officer Joseph brought back fond memories of my college days as a Journalism student. I was assigned to the “police beat” and went on many Citizen Ride-Alongs, including two with K9 units. All of my rides were interesting and educational, but the K9s provided the most fodder for A+ tales. Officer Kaiser and his German Shepherd Samson, were quite the pair. I’d been forewarned by other officers that “the dog stinks to high heaven,” and “Kaiser is the only guy on the force with a dog smarter than he is.” I’ll not divulge whether they were right, but my four-hour ride with this duo was definitely unforgettable.

Samson spent the entire time breathing down my neck from the back seat of the patrol car. When a call came over the radio about a fight at a liquor store, Officer Kaiser spun the car around and accelerated (largely to impress me, I’m sure), and Samson went wild, barking and pacing like mad. The “fight” turned out to be a mild scrap between three macho dudes and a hippie with a dead squirrel in the basket of his moped. (I swear I’m not making that up!). While Officer Kaiser spoke to the men, Samson leaned out the window and kept a keen eye on them. Later, we headed to Samson’s favorite “potty spot.” When Officer Kaiser told Samson to “Take a break!” he flew out the car window, did his business and jumped back in.

Although my memorable Citizen Ride-Alongs occurred many years ago, Officer Joseph said most cities still do them today, but that he and Baco have only done two of them in their first year together. I’m quite certain they weren’t nearly as entertaining as my rides with Officer Kaiser and Samson. Nevertheless, Baco is an exemplary K9, and CANIDAE is proud to sponsor him.

Read more articles by Julia Williams

The personal opinions and/or use of trade, corporate or brand names, is for information and convenience only. Such use does not constitute an endorsement by CANIDAE® All Natural Pet Foods of any product or service. Opinions are those of the individual authors and not necessarily of CANIDAE® All Natural Pet Foods.

Hard Working Dogs That Protect and Serve


By Julia Williams

The relationship between dogs and humans goes back thousands of years. Long before they became “man’s best friend,” dogs had other important jobs. Canines have been enlisted in the military for ages, serving as sentry and patrol dogs, to detect mines, bombs, booby traps, enemy troops and more. Because a canine’s keen senses of smell and hearing are far superior to human soldiers, many a wartime battle would’ve had a tragically different outcome without dogs.

Working dogs are tremendously useful to law enforcement and homeland security, and ranchers rely on them to help with herding sheep and guarding livestock. Assistance dogs provide life changing support to the disabled, and therapy dogs help the sick and elderly find joy in an otherwise challenging existence. As you can see, the list of “canine careers” is long and varied. Let’s take a look at some of them.

Police Dogs – K9 Units

Police officers rely on their K9 partner to help them chase, subdue and apprehend criminals, to provide support during building searches, patrols and crowd control, and to detect illegal substances like drugs and weapons. There’s no question these dedicated and hard working dogs help keep their partners/handlers safe in a highly dangerous job. Their very presence can also prevent crime and diffuse a volatile situation, because delinquents often rethink their actions when confronted by a formidable canine with sharp teeth and powerful jaws.

Many different breeds are used as police dogs, but the German Shepherd is the most popular. This breed is in the herding class of working dogs, and is valued by law enforcement for their size, strength, intelligence and work ethic. The second most popular police dog is the Belgian Malinois (pronounced mal-in-waw), often referred to as a smaller, sleeker version of a German Shepherd. Belgian Malinois are hard working dogs with a high level of endurance, noted for their speed, intelligence and agility.

Last year, CANIDAE donated a Belgian Malinois named Baco to the Pomona, California Police Department’s Canine Unit. According to his partner/handler, Officer Theo Joseph, Baco is progressing well in his training and has proven to be a fine police dog. You can read more about Baco and other hard working CANIDAE sponsored dogs on the “Special Achievers” section of their website.

Bomb Dogs and Drug Dogs

Detection dogs are a vital part of our country’s security forces. AKC Spokesperson Lisa Peterson said, “Despite advances in security technology, the canine and its unique abilities remain a valued resource for the military and law enforcement agencies that work to keep us safe.”

Bomb dogs can quickly locate explosives in a large area that might take humans hours to search. These explosive-sniffing dogs are trained to detect up to 30 different odors that might comprise a bomb, which translates into as many as 19,000 combinations. Detection dogs can also provide peace of mind by quickly confirming that large venues (convention centers, stadiums, concert halls, government buildings, etc.) are free of explosives. Detection dogs are also trained to sniff out illegal drugs, weapons, agricultural products and fire-starting accelerants, either carried on a person or in luggage, packages, vehicles and buildings. Detection dogs must learn to perform reliably in any environment, despite distractions such as loud noises, crowds, and gunfire.

A trained detection dog’s sense of smell is not only highly sensitive, but very exact. In lab tests, bomb sniffing dogs were able to detect odor concentrations as minute as one part per billion. Much to the dismay of smugglers, detection dogs are also remarkably adept at picking out contraband even when it’s placed inside smelly things or in creatively sealed packages.

Some of the dog breeds used for detection work include Beagle, Bloodhound, German Shepherd, Belgian Malinois, Rottweiler, Bouvier, Labrador Retriever, Golden Retriever and Giant Schnauzer.

Military Working Dogs (MWDs)

The U.S. military has employed working dogs since the Revolutionary War, where they were used as pack animals. During World War I, MWDs were used to kill rats in the trenches. For World War II, our military deployed more than 10,000 specially trained canine troops as sentries, scouts, messengers and mine detectors. Today’s military working dogs perform many jobs, among them locating and tracking enemy troops, detecting mines, bombs and booby traps, and defending military bases and field locations. The majority are German Shepherds, Dutch Shepherds, and Belgian Malinois, breeds valued for their aggressive, intelligent, loyal and athletic traits.

After their training (canine bootcamp?), all military working dogs are paired with a single individual, called a handler. The handler usually does not remain with one dog for the length of either’s military service, but generally partners with them for at least a year, and sometimes longer.

Other hard working dogs that “protect and serve” include Search & Rescue Dogs, Cadaver Dogs, Therapy Dogs and Service Dogs. There are far too many to discuss in one sitting. However, I do think these dedicated working dogs provide an invaluable service and deserve recognition, so I will talk more about these canine careers in my next post.

Read more articles by Julia Williams

Find CANIDAE Retailers Near You!

The personal opinions and/or use of trade, corporate or brand names, is for information and convenience only. Such use does not constitute an endorsement by CANIDAE® All Natural Pet Foods of any product or service. Opinions are those of the individual authors and not necessarily of CANIDAE® All Natural Pet Foods.