Essays On K9 Units

K9 units - Dogs as Police Officers

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Almost every state and there cities have a K-9 unit. But if you're like me, your not to sure what they exactly are and how they work. Well there are many different kinds of K9 units, like patrol dogs, narcotic dogs, arson detection dogs, and explosive detection dogs. Plus K-9 units have two helpful new technology pieces to help then protect there canine partners.

Patrol dogs are trained to protect its partner. The dog is trained to bite under two circumstances. The first is when the officer commands the dog to attack. And the other is when ever an aggressive move is made towards the officer the dog will attack. A patrol dog is also able to track and trail a person. They can follow scents which are several hours old. They can't be fooled by fake tracks or if other animals cross the trail. Dog breeds used for patrol are, German shepherd's, rottweilers, and in some places Dobermans.

Narcotic dogs are not like patrol dogs. There not aggressive, or trained to attack. There carefully handed picked for their temper. They have to be patient and willing to work for long periods of time. They have extremely high levels of drive and enjoy there work. Dogs are trained to detect marijuana, hashish, cocaine, crack, heroin, and methamphetamines. Canines are trained to search for narcotic odors in all different areas. Like vehicles, luggage, warehouses, buildings, and open areas. Dog breeds used in narcotics are, Labradors, golden retrievers, German shepherd's, and Belgian millions.

Arson dogs are proving themselves to be a valuable asset to the arson investigators. Arson dogs are being used more each year by investigators and as well as private companies. Who do investigate for insurance companies. The use of a dog is to help pinpoint the location of where the fire started and what caused it. The dog reduces the number of samples that need to be collected and sent to be tested. This saves time and money. The dogs are trained to scent out a variety of chemicals used in a fire. Such as gas, lighter fluid, charcoal started, diesel. Kerosene, alcohol, brake fluid, paint thinner, and many more.

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Dog breeds used for this is Labradors, golden retrievers, and mixed dogs, and some times German shepherd's.

Explosive detection dogs are trained just like the narcotic dogs. In this day and age we must watch for bombing threats. So explosive detection dogs are used world wide. There know for their accuracy and dependability. The dogs are trained to scent out all odors of explosives, explosive compounds, firearms, and ammunition. Canines are trained to search for odors in air lines, cruise ships, schools, corporations, and large public gathering places. Dog breeds used are German shepherds, Labradors, mixed dogs, golden retrievers.

The two most important pieces you would ever need for your canine partner. First there is a bullet proof vest to protect your furry canine friend, which is now a mandatory law in California. There made out of the same material as a persons vest is. I think this should have been a law in every state, because criminals don't respect police, and surely they don't give any appreciation to a canine. And also the newest technology for K-9 units is a dog tracker, which is no bigger than a car alarm remote. It a device that attached to the dogs collar, that allows the officer to locate the dog with in sixty foot radius. This is a good idea for when a dog is tracking a person in an open area.



When I was a child, my greatest dream was to find a box full of puppies. And every shoebox, every discarded Manhattan Mini Storage vessel had the potential to change my life. I knew just what I’d do with the puppies I found: take them home, place them in a corner of my loft bed, give them names like Anastasia and Kristy, and feed them the parts of my dinner I didn’t want. I’d throw them in with my stuffed animals, so you couldn’t tell the plush from the living. I’d keep them in my backpack at school and in my skirts at home. By the time they were fully grown, they would follow me down the streets of SoHo, off-leash. They’d bark at shady characters, and even at my parents when they asked me to do something I didn’t like.

In reality, I was deeply dog-less. Until I was six, I had no pets at all, despite trying to catch rabbits in a net at the park and lure turtles with Sun Chips at other people’s country houses. My first (and worst) pet was a newt that choked to death on a bad worm. Next came a hairless cat my mother bought on Greene Street. Both were poor substitutes for the dog I wanted but couldn’t have. We didn’t have a proper home. We lived in what was essentially one big room, on Broadway. And all my promises to care for the dog were futile: I wasn’t even allowed to go outside alone.

My parents’ childhood dogs loomed large in our family mythology. My mother had been the proud owner of Cindy, a shepherd-collie mix with serious aggression issues and a pathological obsession with Ritz crackers. She was tied to a tree all day on the lawn outside my mother’s neo-Tudor house. At the age of six, my mother was both her captor and her protector. One of the first sentences I learned was “Cindy was a bad dog.”

A few states away, my father had General George Armstrong Custer (General for short), a runt dachshund whose claim to fame was that he’d once eaten an entire eighteen-pound ham. For days thereafter, General’s gut dragged along the ground. When it was really hot, he liked to run to the riverbank and roll in dead eels. He survived a German-shepherd attack in which he lost part of an ear. He died at eighteen, curled beneath my grandfather’s desk.

Both these dogs seemed to me like outcasts, kooks, pains in the ass who the adults secretly wished would just succumb to their own vices already. And so I concluded that dogs were not man’s best friend but, rather, the mischievous sidekicks of misunderstood children.

When I was fifteen, I took the box-of-puppies fantasy into my own hands. Walking down the main drag of Brooklyn Heights, where we now lived, I stopped to pet a tan mutt, the mascot of an animal-rescue group that had set up a booth at the corner of Montague and Hicks. As I scratched the scarred head of a sleepy “chow mix,” the group explained its mission: to end animal homelessness in our borough.

“My parents won’t let me have a dog,” I said.

“Well, maybe you can foster.”

I don’t remember exactly who the person in charge of the booth was. There were several girls and a man. The situation was so oddly traumatic that in my mind the man is played by the character actor Elias Koteas, of “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles” fame. I do remember, though, that what came next was a very bad afternoon. It involved my dreams coming true and the empty dread that often follows that experience. I climbed into a van with Elias Koteas, who told me that there was a pit-bull mother dead (in a box!) in a parking lot near the Gowanus Canal and three puppies that desperately needed a foster home. As he drove me out of my neighborhood, away from the bagel shops and the squash players, and into industrial Brooklyn, I suddenly recalled my mother’s countless warnings about “climbing into vans with strangers.” Somehow, this situation seemed outside the bounds of her edict. Just think of the puppies—three of them, he had said, their bodies cold, starving. In the van, one of his colleagues, a silent frizzy-haired woman, filled dog bowls with dirty water. I could hear it sloshing as we rumbled down Atlantic Avenue.

It was dusk by the time we reached the parking lot. It had started to drizzle. Elias Koteas told me to follow him, and I did, to a shipping crate in the corner of the lot. I peered in. The mother wasn’t dead. She lifted her head with tremendous effort, sad-eyed and gaunt, like Fantine, in “Les Misérables.” A mother in a desperate situation. Maybe that’s why she didn’t even growl when I reached in and took her babies, one by one.

They were barely puppies. More like kidney beans, slick and cool, eyes still sealed shut. They whimpered, but quietly, no louder than baby birds. Elias Koteas urged me back to the van. He told me to buy bottles and a heating pad and “make sure they’re warm all night.” I was dropped off near a subway stop.

But I didn’t take the train. I wandered for blocks, the puppies hidden in my orange parka. I saw a laundromat and went inside to get warm. Someone noticed the puppies and suggested that I stuff them into the socks without mates sitting atop a dryer, which I did. (It was cute in the vein of an Anne Geddes calendar, but didn’t seem totally safe.) Back out on the street, I spotted a veterinarian’s office in the distance; it was like one of those cartoons in which someone starving in the wilderness hallucinates a hot-dog stand. The office was just closing, but I opened my coat and flashed the receptionist my puppies, like a freelance salesman on Canal Street, and she quickly ushered me in. The vet was a young, sweet man. Definitely Jewish, which is something I care about only in times of crisis. He checked each dog for a cleft palate and explained that I had to feed them every two hours, and that I should rub their anuses with a hot cloth to express their bowels. It never occurred to me to ask whether the vet might keep them there, at the office, where the staff was better equipped for transient pit-bull infants than a fifteen-year-old girl might be. After all, my parents were on a trip to California and my sister, Grace, was only nine.

On the walk home, I named them—Uno, Bruno, and Devo. Imagine how lively our house would be when we had three grown pit bulls! I presented them to the babysitter, who reacted with the only appropriate emotion: horror. I didn’t care, since technically she wasn’t in charge of me. (I was too old for a babysitter but still too young to be trusted alone with Grace.)

The first night, I woke up every hour on the hour, heated the bottles, rubbed the anuses. Every so often, the puppies cried and I’d reach down into their box, letting whoever got there first suckle my index finger. It was the weekend, so I had all the time in the world to spend with them. But by the end of the second afternoon I was an Octomom-style mess. They weren’t eating enough. They weren’t pooping enough. Once, I left the room for too long and when I came back they were sucking each other’s tiny dicks, in a circle, like crazed swingers, blind to the fact that those things weren’t nipples.

Over the phone, my father reacted to the news of my triple adoption with the warning that he was, officially, “livid.” He said that if the puppies were not gone by the time he and my mother got back from California he would get rid of them himself. My mother was more sympathetic (“Are they eating?”), but she also appealed to my good sense: “You know we can’t keep them.”

I did recognize that the joy/work ratio was out of whack. This wasn’t “Charlotte’s Web”; it was “The Panic in Needle Park.” I called the rescue group’s number, which they had given me, “for updates,” and reached the director. She lived in Bay Ridge and was agoraphobic, she explained, so there was no way she could meet me to collect the puppies. Besides, she said, she had no room at all. I had never heard the word “agoraphobic” before, and the accompanying visual I generated was of someone throwing a tantrum as she walked across the Brooklyn Bridge amid a throng of tourists. Apparently, I displayed a level of confrontational tenacity (or desperation) that I haven’t shown since, because she finally agreed to take them off my hands if I could get them to her house. I waited until my father got home, then made him do it, but I refused to join my family in the car, claiming that it was too painful a goodbye. “I’ve raised them since birth!” I cried.

While they were gone, I holed up with a boy I vaguely liked who had a very chapped lower lip. I sat on his lap while he used my father’s cardio-rowing machine, but we never kissed. In the car, I’m told, adorable little Bruno released a torrent of diarrhea down my sister’s chest.

We did, eventually, get a family dog. It was only a year later, and he wasn’t a rescue but an old-fashioned terrier with a sheaf of official papers that came with him on a plane from Indiana. I was very invested in him for a short while, until I started watching Criterion Collection movies and eating meat and getting generally more excited about human company. The misfit child no longer needed a companion, and the terrier was ignored, like the Velveteen Rabbit. (He eventually became my mother’s confidant. Although he now has a condition called degenerative myelopathy that causes him to drag his back legs around, like a mermaid, I once overheard my father sing “In-a-Gadda-da-Vida” to him, and he seems very happy.)

Nothing about my life these days makes me an especially good candidate for having a dog. For starters, I’m never home. I work all the time, and when I’m not working I’m asleep in a pile on my couch.

I have issues waking up. I understand the title of President Obama’s book “The Audacity of Hope,” because it perfectly describes my relationship to setting my alarm clock for 7 A.M.

I haven’t been grocery shopping in more than a year. Currently, my refrigerator contains old yogurt, old vinegar, and whatever kind of medicines you’re told to keep cold (usually prescribed for your vagina). I am one step away from doing that awful rom-com thing where a New York City working woman with limited space but unlimited pluck fills her oven with sweaters and shoes.

I also realize that writing about dogs is a very tricky business. It’s nearly impossible to do without some simpering sentimentality. In a dream world, you write about your dog and you’re J. R. Ackerley. Or perhaps your words will have the droopy intelligence of a Thurber dog. Jo Ann Beard’s essay “The Fourth State of Matter,” a stunning account of a mass shooting in an academic community and its surreal aftermath, describes a dying dog with such eloquent precision that you can see every heartbreaking curve of his body, feel every labored breath, and you reflect on how we all fit together as a mesh of messy creation. But, more often, you’re writing “Beethoven.” “Marley and Me” if you’re lucky.

The same caveats apply to conversation about dogs. Just discussing your dog can be as tiresome and offensive as talking about the weather, your own dreams, or the newest wrinkle in your married sex life. At least when people talk about their children, there is a chance that the kid will grow up to be President.

But the main reason I shouldn’t even have been thinking about dogs is that I finally have a boyfriend. After what feels like decades of making ill-advised forays into Spartan Chinatown living rooms and pretending to enjoy wine, I have met someone I love and respect, and I want to make decisions that honor and consider him. It would be a mistake to create a situation that compromised his comfort or made him less likely to squeeze me all night long.

My boyfriend is allergic to dogs.

Nevertheless, the itch returned last year, when, during an extended existentialist spin-out, the same family dog I had abandoned so many years ago dragged himself to my side and refused to leave. Suddenly, I find myself Googling dogs, looking into their dumb dog faces, reading about which foods will poison them (grapes, chocolate, some sugarless gums) and which celebrities love them (Glenn Close).

I imagine how much better everything would be with a dog. Walks to get the paper or a bagel. Long car trips, a wild head of Einstein-y fur in my lap. Sitting on the couch, reading a book, and occasionally flicking his ear with my toe. I’d be permanently rid of the whiff of self-involvement. (“She can’t be that much of a narcissist—she adopted a dog!”)

I promise everyone I won’t do it. I tell my boyfriend, “We have our whole lives for dogs.” Then, one morning, I sneak off to another rescue group in industrial Brooklyn and I take him home.

He’s gorgeous. He’s a mutt, it’s true, but if you told me he was Marie Antoinette’s breed of choice I’d believe you: a golden sausage with the most human eyes I’ve ever seen on a non-human. Lamby will be his name, like some French kid’s favorite soft toy. He’s had three other homes, three other names, but now he’s mine mine mine. First, I make sure my boyfriend doesn’t break out in hives, ask whether he’s “a good dog,” then sign on the dotted line. He’s a hundred and fifty dollars, and I use my credit card. The rescue people dump his tags and toys into a plastic evidence bag, as if he were leaving prison. It should be noted that this place is an entirely professional operation. Seasoned, systematic, these people don’t seem as if they’d ever kidnap a minor and place three canine infants in her care.

The first few nights I have him, it’s just us two, and he’s perfect. Quiet, limp as a sack of laundry, he kisses me softly whenever he has the chance. I bring him to a bookstore, and he’s passed around among my friends like the town bicycle. Everyone tells me how lucky I am.

Friday, I drop him at day care. My boyfriend is coming home that day, and I’m excited about our first night as a family. My boyfriend, on the other hand, doesn’t seem particularly excited when I offer to give Lamby a hyphenated last name.

That afternoon, my sister breaks up with her girlfriend. I tell her she should sleep over, and she agrees. We all go to dinner and then pick up Lamby, who bounds out of day care and into the sub-zero night to greet us. I am lucky.

But the minute we arrive home it gets weird: Lamby picks up a stuffed toy in his mouth and shakes it hard, as if to break its neck. He’s growling. My boyfriend reaches his hand out to calm him and Lamby lunges, biting him. Whether it’s aggression or play is unclear, but we back out of the room all the same.

In the bathroom a little while later, we are brushing our teeth when Lamby saunters in, calm, like your college roommate the day after an acid trip, acting like everything is normal. My boyfriend tenses and, ever the Lady Macbeth, I encourage him to reëngage:

“Pick Lamby up! He’ll be sweet now. I promise.”

He picks the dog up awkwardly, so that his feet flail. I know this wouldn’t feel good if it were me, but I keep quiet. Lamby tries, desperately, to bite at any part of my boyfriend’s body he can reach, then hurls himself onto the tile floor. He bounces slightly, shocked, then curls his tail around one crooked leg and heads for the front door, where he barks loudly at no one.

My boyfriend looks pained; Lamby seems utterly alone; and I feel torn—after all, what’s it feel like when you are one foot tall and a guy in a Green Day shirt hoists you up as if it’s nothing and waggles one of your paws and calls you “bro”?

At bedtime, I shut Lamby in the living room with my sister, who needs the comfort, but, a moment later, it starts: the sound. Something between a sob and a siren, it is how Lamby expresses a doleful emotion that he experiences roughly twice a day.

“I think he needs to sleep in here,” I say.

My boyfriend nods, a good sport with a long red scratch on his forearm.

Lamby trots in, does several laps around the room, then stretches across the foot of the bed.

“Are you O.K.?” I ask my boyfriend.

“Sure,” he says, a little too quickly. “You?”

“Definitely,” I assure him. “Definitely.”

He pauses. “I mean, I have to get used to having someone else in the bed with us. . . . You know, a creature. That might bite my feet.” Tears stream down my face. What have I done? We had such a nice life. The first real comfort I’ve known in so long. Nights were quiet and sweet, and we slept until whatever o’clock we wanted, then sat on the couch in our underwear and planned the day. I cling to my boyfriend and pull my feet up close the way I did when I was a little girl and thought alligators lived at the bottom of the bed, waiting to snap.

Finally, everything settles. We’re breathing in tandem and Lamby is passed out down there. It seems as though we could sleep this way every night and even come to love it. What was I so anxious about?

A siren wakes me at 3 A.M. Lamby stands, ready to fight. My first thought is how much my boyfriend values his sleep, and my second thought is a reprise of “What have I done?” I get up and open the door to the living room, where my sister is sobbing. I kneel over her and she shows me the offending text message. Lamby makes himself busy, circling her, placing a spitty chew toy on any exposed skin he can find. Once she calms down, he does, too. On the arm of the couch. This is where we will stay.

Lamby’s fine if it’s just him and me, working or eating or listening to music. But any attempt on my part to be alone—meditating, showering, walking out into the hallway to dump trash down the chute—results in that same siren sound. Sometimes he takes a break to flash his erection at me, red as a sunburn and made even more vulgar by the jaunty bandanna the groomer has tied around his neck.

At night, he conks out around ten. He’s at his best when he’s sleeping, snoring softly, one ear flopped over his eyes like a sleep mask. But, once the light goes out, he’s on edge, using the siren to fend off imagined intruders.

My building skews old. Let’s just say that four neighbors passed away last year, and none of the deaths were tragedies. So when an ambulance pulls up to our door I never panic.

Lamby does. One night, an ambulance is parked outside from 3 A.M. to 5 A.M., and for those two hours he sounds a rival siren. I try shutting the blinds. Covering his ears. Pushing him out of my bedroom. But he’s despondent.

The classic reasons that people have dogs—to feel loved unconditionally, and not for our appearance or net worth; to escape the knowledge of death for a moment with a creature who doesn’t know about its existence; to have access to utterly present joy—are only intellectual concepts in the face of this squealing lunatic. The ambulance leaves, but Lamby starts again when the woman below me coughs, a deep weak rumble that I often mistake for male sounds of sexual pleasure or the evening news.

At 5:07 A.M., I crawl to the end of the bed to meet him. I ruffle his ears, whisper, “It’s O.K., I’m here. I’ve been waiting for you for so long. Before I even knew about you, I was waiting for you. When you were born, I was only twenty-five years old. I had a boyfriend I didn’t love, but I told him that I did and he made me a pencil case, so I didn’t even know I needed you. But I needed you.” Lamby is growling, but more softly now. He still doesn’t like the scene downstairs, the coughing and the woman’s frustrated, tired caretaker rising to check on her.

“And the rest of the months I waited for you, and now here you are.”

Once, in a friend’s office, I saw a childhood picture of her husband on which he’d drawn a thought bubble saying, “I can’t wait to meet you, it’s going to take a long time, and there will be a lot of trouble along the way, but this is how it must be.” It struck me as impossibly romantic, the nicest thing you could say to someone, really. “I’m not going anywhere,” I tell Lamby.

He wakes up only one more time in the night, with a single bark that trails into silence.

I kiss his little mouth, his ears that smell like corn chips and old water. “Sh-h-h . . . I love you. I love you. I love you so much.” There is no one to call for help. We don’t need any help. He is mine, and I am old enough to have him. We are all adults here. ♦

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