Every month or so, we put on a Chow & Know-How lunch for the Ruffwear pack where we come together, grab some sandwiches and learn a few things on topics we’re all interested in.
Today, we had an awesome presentation and demo by our local Bend Police Department and their K-9 unit. Three officers and their canine partners introduced us to the dogs, answered our many and varied questions, and even gave us demonstrations on article search, drug detection and a missing person search!
The first officer + dog team we met was Officer Kinsella with his Belgian Malinois, Haras. Originally from the Czech Republic, Haras is trained to apprehend bad guys (or gals) and is driven by a desire to play. Officer Kinsella explained that Haras is trained to chase, stand and bark, and bite (among other things).
Also, Haras showed us how he is able to locate an object that is out of place – in this case, a gun (not a real gun) in an open area of brush and trees. This skill comes in handy when something is lost or deliberately discarded. Haras let us pet him and we were impressed to learn that he understands many of his commands in Czech!
Next, we heard from Officer Barber, with canine partner Zoey. She is also a Belgian Malinois and she hails from the Netherlands. The Belgian Malinois breed is valued by police officers for their high play/prey drive and their boundless energy. Zoey is a trained drug detection dog and she can sniff out methamphetamine, heroin, cocaine and marijuana. Officer Barber rewards Zoey with a ball that she goes crazy for and she’s so successful in finding illegal drugs because she associates the smell of those drugs with play. We watched a demo of Zoey hunting for heroin (in the Ruffwear kitchen, no less!) and she was able to locate the pre-planted drugs amongst the smells of our sandwiches. Officer Barber used the analogy, “When we humans smell a bowl of Chili, we smell Chili. When dogs smell Chili, they smell the spices, the meat, the tomatoes, etc.” Nice job Zoey!
Our third and final guest was the majestic, yet goofy Ranger, the Bloodhound. Officer Voll is Ranger’s human counterpart and we got to hear about the vast differences between what humans can smell and what dogs can smell….and then there are Bloodhounds. The long ears and folds of loose skin help collect the scent, making them even more sensitive to scents and smells than other breeds. Ranger helps find lost and missing persons, primarily. He’s able to hone in on a particular scent of one person and track that person down through systematic searching and sniffing. To demonstrate his location skills, Officer Kinsella took off across an open field of trees outside our office. About 15 minutes later (after he’d sniffed an article of Officer Kinsella’s clothing that was left behind), Ranger found him in about 4 minutes with Officer Voll in tow. Those are some mad sniffing skills Ranger!
To learn more about the Bend K-9 Dog program and to support these dogs, visit the Friends of K-9 site HERE. Thanks to the Bend Police Department for making time to come see us, demonstrate the skills of these talented dogs and answer all of our questions! We’ll see you out on the beat.