K9 police dogs are some of the most highly trained canines in the world. According to howstuffworks.com, to become a police dog first, the dogs have to be experts at basic obedience. Obeying the commands of their handler without hesitation is paramount. Police dogs have to be comfortable in public places and not easily distracted.
On the National Police Dog Foundation website, it says all the dogs are trained in patrol work, urban tracking, and detection and that the total cost of training one dog can range from $12,000 to $15,000! Detection training includes learning how to detect drugs or explosives. Patrol training involves agility and searching.
Once a dog is fully trained, they are assigned a human partner to work with. The dog and the handler work together and sometimes live together. The two form a strong bond and depend on each other. Most police dogs retire at the age of 10, and often will go live at their handlers house to live out their lives.
In 2014, a K-9 officer named Major, from Florida’s Clearwater Police Department, retired after serving 6 years with his handler Sgt. Michael Spitaleri.
Major had developed health problems, retired and went to live with Spitaleri and his family.
Last week, Spitaleri made the heartbreaking decision to have Major put to sleep due to his health.
Read the letter on the next page…