PostHeaderIcon A Police K-9 Offers Tips To Handlers

Sorry I can’t reveal my real name, but I’m currently working an extremely dangerous undercover assignment in a massive dog-fighting ring. That’s why I’m only showing part of my body. Can’t display my scars, marks, and tattoos…you know, the things that could easily identify me when I get back work. For the purpose of this meeting, though, you can call me “Dawg.”

I’m risking blowing my cover to talk to you today because, well, sometimes you guys don’t use your heads. I’m not saying you’re stupid. It’s just that you don’t think before you act. Seriously, it’s okay to leave us in the car while you’re outside standing in the shade yucking it up with your buddies? We enjoy a good joke too. Besides, the grass feels wonderful on our feet. And don’t think I can’t smell the burgers and fries on your breath when you get back inside the bucket of bolts you so proudly call a police car. Nearly an hour inside Mickie D’s….puhleeze…

And, remember that traffic stop last week? Yeah, you know the one. I know you only issued her a warning. But I’m not stupid. I get it. She batted her eyelashes at you and smelled like jasmine. What I don’t understand, though, is why you didn’t you introduce me to the poodle riding shotgun. You know I’m a sucker for curly, white hair. Life is not all about you and your shiny badge and big gun, you know.

Anyway, our union, Police Dogs 101, sort of elected me as spokesperson, so I’m here today in advance of the upcoming contract renewal to address a few of our concerns. It wouldn’t hurt private citizens to pull up a chair and listen as well. So here goes, and I suggest you take notes.

1. We notice that you wear shoes to work every single day of your life. And we know why. Oh, boy, do we know why! Snow and ice are COLD. Concrete and asphalt are HOT. And, for goodness sake, would you walk barefoot over broken glass? Well, no one, including dogs, should be forced to walk on those surfaces. So take your narrow hips to the store and buy us some booties! They make and sell them every day. We don’t mind looking goofy if it means no frostbite, blisters, or cuts. Use your head, Sherlock.

2. We enjoy biting a bad guy as much as any dog, but our internal temperatures can skyrocket while tracking and searching on really hot days. That’s right, Ace, you try wearing a thick fur coat in the August sunshine. So keep one of those thermometer things in your pocket. No, we don’t enjoy it when you poke them into the place where the sun doesn’t shine, but it’s better than keeling over from heat exhaustion. We’d do it ourselves, but…no fingers, you know.

3. Another good idea, and goodness knows you’d never think of it, is to wet us down before a search on hot days. It helps keep us cool. But, please, not when the humidity is really high, because in that case the water would only serve to keep the heat in.

4. Bring some water with you if the search is going to be a long one. We don’t like drinking from mud puddles and creeks. Do you know what’s been there? Well, we do, and it’s not exactly the most sanitary thing to do. Would you drink from something that turtles and frogs use as a toilet? I didn’t think so. And let’s not even think about all the mosquito larvae swimming around in those places. Gives me goosebumps just thinking about it. Do us both a favor and bring some water, okay!

Speaking of water…how about changing the water in my bowl a few times during the day (the one in my kennel). You know me, I drool in it, and even sometimes step in it to cool my hot feet (and you know where my feet have been). Besides, I don’t like tasting the green stuff that can build up in the bowl if the water sits for a long time.

5. If you do insist upon leaving me in the car while you’re off doing who knows what (probably biting someone behind my back), then please have the decency to leave the car and air conditioning running. And for goodness sake, have someone install an alarm that notifies you if either of the two malfunctions or shuts off. Remember, I don’t have fingers to operate the power locks and those window roller-downer-things.

6. Shade. I can’t stress this enough. We want our kennels placed in the shade. If your yard is treeless (heaven forbid) then march your butt down to the hardware store and purchase a roll or two of shade cloth to place over the top of our kennels. It”s an easy project. We’ll even help, if you want. If so, merely place the roll near us and I promise we’ll have it unrolled and divided into bite-size pieces in no time flat. Now that’s what we call fun.

Speaking of fun…we demand a few hours of play time each day. You cannot expect us to work every minute. Throw something for us to retrieve. Hide something and let us find it. Let us roll around in the dirt, etc. Anything like that will suffice.

And whatever you do, please don’t forget to tell us what a great job we’re doing. We absolutely adore praise for a job well done. Also, a little loving goes a long way. Now don’t go getting all mushy on me. A pat on the head and back and an occasional hug is all we’re asking. You can save the kisses for your spouses.

Okay, that’s it for now. We look forward to your response in advance of our next meeting.

By the way, if you happen to see that poodle again, tell her to give me a call.


18 Responses to “A Police K-9 Offers Tips To Handlers”

  • Ann Bennett says:

    All my deputy dawgs agree.

  • I’m a sucker for Dawg. It kills me when something happens to any K-9 critter. I understand they do things that might save human lives, but since I view animals as humans with bigger hearts I have to say I have more empathy for them than the two legged guys.
    Recently there was a K-9 dog who died in the car because his handler forgot him and then the other one that died of an accidental overdose during a search. I wept for both.
    Teresa R.

  • I love this.
    I never thought about the asphalt being too hot for their little feet.

  • Coco says:

    Just want to tell you “DAWG”, I am a sucker for K-9s
    and am so glad you brought up these important
    points. Maybe some other dog owners will
    take heed, and curtail their extended shopping
    or eating, while you suffer in an overheated car.
    Living in a hot climate, it hits the News of such occurrences
    every day. And guess what, Dawg, you are not
    alone. Babies are forgotten too.
    Nice blog, Lee.

  • Lee, I’ve been here from the beginning and this is the bestest blog ever!

    I knew about the feet problem because I had a blind friend who had to check the temperature before he and his seeing-eye dog when out and he explained how he checked the dogs feet.

    You are trying to find that poodle…right? Hey, I write romantic suspense…every dog needs a little love of their own kind.

    Oh, and in New Jersey if you hurt or kill a K-9 officer, it’s the same crime as hurting or killing a human cop.

  • Terry Odell says:

    Those are great tips for civilian dogs, too. Right now, it’s cold more than heat concerning us, but our FBI SAC (Feebie to us) seems happier outside than in. She can’t understand why we don’t want to frolic with her. It’s only 30 degrees out there, silly human. Wind chill? What’s that. Come on out and throw something!

    Terry’s Place

  • Diana says:

    So glad to see this in your blog, Lee. If makes me so mad when, here in Australia, some IDIOT leaves their animal in a car in the hot sun and it has to be rescued – thereby having the Good Samaritan accused of damaging property – or dies before someone can save it. These people always get away with their crimes because the judges and magistrates here don’t consider animal abuse a big enough crime to impose strong penalties. AAAAAAAGH.

  • I’m always a sucker for a Dawg story. I have retired K-9s in my story and they like to play a bit too. Our local K-9s get the royal treatment with AC the whole time they’re in the car because its so hot down here all the time. Enjoyed your post, Lee.

  • Great post Lee. Dawg makes all the right points, and as a Chief of Police with a full staff of K-9s and NNDDA trained handlers, I truly appreciate this information. Applies to both sworn and civilian pups!!

  • Wally Lind says:

    Okay, Okay, already. We’ll do it. Reminds me to change the water for my three dogs more often.

  • What a wonderful post! I’m a huge dog lover, currently owned by a German Shepherd and a GSD Hound Mix, two of the smartest, best behaved dogs you’ll ever meet.

    I’d like to add that it’s good to socialize your dogs, too. Okay, maybe not the K-9 patrol, but other dogs and particularly large breeds should be socialized. My dogs go to day care two days a week for that reason, and we spend most Sundays at the dog park. Don’t think for a moment that socializing renders them useless as watchdogs. No one, and I stress, NO ONE, comes into my house uninvited. My girls don’t attack; they just won’t let them inside the door. I have pictures of my fur children on my website if anyone’s interested in seeing what I’m raving about.

    Yes, you touched a nerve. I know there’s a special place in hell for those who neglect or abuse animals.

    Go Dawg!

  • Excellent post, Lee. (Although as a dog writer & advocate for responsible care, I think pet dogs are better off out of the kennel & in the living room – social animals and all that.) Anyway, well done – give yourself a cookie. I’m going to share this on my facebook pages and – I hope Dawg doesn’t mind. And I hope he nails everyone involved with dog fighting!

  • Lee Lofland says:

    Good points and comments, everyone. Sheila, you have to remember that police dogs aren’t pets, especially the “biters,” and are often kept in very well-built and well-maintained kennels. Well, they’re not supposed to be pets, that is. I know my two certainly had plenty of “in-house” time with the family.

  • Sandy says:

    All paws on deck for this fun post. Keep them coming.

  • Kathy says:

    Great post Lee and Dawg. Good points for anyone who has a 4 legged friend. In Texas it is either too hot or too cold to take our puppy dogs with us. But when we lived in OK we used to load up our three dogs in the evening and take them for a ride. They would pile up in the back seat and go to sleep.

  • Sasscer Hill says:

    A five paw essay. Woof!

  • That. was. awesome.

    Haven’t read a post by DAWG yet, but sounds like this wasn’t the first. Love it and look forward to the next.

  • Carole Price says:

    LOVED this post. Rain is the current problem for my little Shilo. She doesn’t like doing her business in the side yard after a rain. The concrete is fine by me.

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