This week long event included a competition that brought in law enforcement K9 handlers from all over the South to test their skills in obedience, agility, criminal search, criminal apprehension, and narcotics detection. The officers and their dogs were rewarded with certification for another year, a big deal in the K9 world. This picture shows how they arrived. It was awesome! All lined up in their K9 SUVs they came in a caravan of sirens and lights, some of the excited K9s barking hellos to the crowd gathered at our high school stadium. They rode around the track and allowed the spectators to view and take pictures. Some of the SUVs had the K9's name on the side. What a ride.
After that grand entry, the announcer introduced the officers and their K9 partners, one by one, and announced the highest scores in each category. Seven-hundred is the highest possible score and two officer dogs only missed that by one tenth of a point, making them the best two in the bunch. But they were all winners. Beautiful animals and fierce when called upon.
After the scores were announced, the K9s put on a show of going through their paces. One officer said they have to train every week and for at least fifteen hours. So these dogs and their handlers are always learning and improving on their skills.
Here is a picture of the obstacles courses where they showed their skills. Those boxes were used to hide "criminals" and when one dog was chosen to give a demonstration on locating a suspect, he found the man hiding inside the box. We also witnessed the K9s taking down bad guys and our local sheriff put himself in danger by not wearing a protective suit while he ran down the field with a barking K9 chasing hm. But the dog was so well trained that he immediately halted when his handler commanded. The sheriff was relieved and so was I!
I was so engrossed, however, I didn't get picture. Just image a big, burly sheriff running for his life while a barking German Shepherd is running after him.
This was such a treat and I was so proud of our community and our local law enforcement. I loved seeing all the beautiful dogs lined up with their handlers. Now when I write my stories, I'll remember these special animals and this event that allowed me to see them in action and help celebrate their hard work. As the sheriff told us, the human officers can hide behind their vehicles when shots are fired. But their K9 partners will run toward the shots, willing to take a bullet for their partner. That's true training and dedication.