New Hanover County Deputy J. Day with the sheriff’s office puts K-9 Timo through his paces on the agility course at the county training
The men and women who are drawn to this work all have
something in common: they love dogs.
“I’ve always grown up around dogs,” says Cpl. K. Murphy,
a four-year veteran of the Wilmington PD and handler of K-9
Yet if they go in thinking their K-9 will become something like
a favorite pet, they quickly learn otherwise.
“It’s a lot of work,” Pellegrino says. “You have to get your dog
ready to go. Weather doesn’t mean anything to us. We’re out there
in the rain. We’re on call for two weeks out of every eight. That’s
a lot of on-call taking time away from your family.”
It requires a big commitment. The dogs live with the handlers.
There’s vet appointments, feeding, upkeep, and ongoing training
to keep the animal sharp. But there are also rewards.
“The whole aspect of being partner with a dog, being able to
hunt someone down, that’s pretty cool,” Vithalani says.
Conversations tend to be one-sided when you work with a
K-9, but that can be OK.
“You never have to argue about where you’re going to eat with
your partner,” Murphy says.
WBM september 2017