"He is your friend, your partner, your defender, your dog. You are his life, his love, his leader. He will be yours, faithful and true, to the last beat of his heart. You owe it to him to be worthy of such devotion" Unknown Author
This quote is one that is familiar to a lot of dog advocates and dog lovers. Rescue advocates particularly love to quote this as it rings just as true for shelter dogs as it does for breeder bought puppies. Within the past years, it's begun to take on meaning in one of the most unlikely places.
Police canines are often thought of as large, purebred, specifically bred dogs with the optimum bloodline. That has started to change. Recently, certain police departments have recruited shelter and death row dogs for their K-9 police dogs.
Chicago Ridge is one police department that has taken on a shelter dog as a police narcotics dog (Raeke, 2009). The police department was notified by their local Animal Welfare League and introduced to Pantera, a black lab without a home. They quickly took him on and began his training, and he is now a certified narcotics dog.
Shaka the police dog above is an excellent example of a death row dog becoming a police dog. Pitbulls are not only severly misunderstood, but there are also hundreds euthanized on a daily basis because of the overpopulation and lack of experienced, responsible homes. Shaka is the prime example of a death row dog that was saved from death row to serve her purpose, which is as a Milwaukee police canine.
Shelter and death row dogs can make some of the best and most reliable police dogs. For one, mutts and diluted bred dogs, tend to live longer and healthier lives due to the fact that they don't suffer from certain diseases that can plaque specific breeds (Davidson). Dogs are extremely intelligent animals.
Shelter pets know that they are in danger, and can sense that they are near death. Being the person that takes them out of that environment makes them completely indebted to you. Dogs aim to please their human masters regardless of abuse and neglect. Dogs that have been tossed away like garbage and saved by a compassionate person, will go to the ends of the earth to please that person. There may be breeders out there that specifically breed their dogs to be excellent police canines, but in my opinion they've got nothing on the underdog.
Raeke, D (2009, November 6). From Shelter Dog to Certified Hero, Police Narcotics Dog. For Love of the Dog Blog. Retrieved from http://forloveofthedogblog.com/
Davidson, V. (no date). Choosing a dog, cheaper, healthier dogs, mixed-breed mutts, becoming more preferred than purebreds. Frugal Pet Tips. Retrieved from http://www.frugal-cafe.com/