Quad-City Creatures By Heidi Dahms Foster, Prescott Valley, Arizona A local blog all about pets and pet activities in the quad-city area.PV, Prescott and beyond.
Wednesday, July 15, 2009
Toby and Quest are stellar law dogs with a history
Heidi Dahms Foster
Toby, top, with handler Jon Anderson, and bottom, handler Paul Daly waits as Quest finds marijuana in a car trunk. Photos by Heidi Dahms Foster
I promised I would write more of the stories behind the story of the Arizona Law Enforcement Canine Association 2009 conference in Prescott Valley in my next blog, particularly the story of Toby the German Shepherd.
Toby is an 8-year-old veteran police dog that lives with handler Jon Anderson of the Maricopa County Sheriff's Office. While dogs and handlers were undergoing testing to renew their annual certification at the Bradshaw Mountain High School East athletic field Monday, Toby caught my eye. I mentioned his size, beauty and bearing to one of the MCSO officers, who told me the lovely dog also has quite the story, and introduced me to Anderson.
Toby took two bullets from a barricaded person in a police incident, Anderson said. The bullets pierced the dog's wrist and his ear, but after veterinary care, he recovered completely and went back to work.
I'm not sure any of my family dogs would want to get in the way again of something so painful. But Anderson said this high-drive, focused dog still wants to work every day.
"I can't start my truck without him wanting to get in," he said.
Toby is Anderson's second dog - he unfortunately lost his first to cancer after working with him for a year. Anderson has had Toby for five years.
Toby is a dual-purpose dog - he patrols, and he sniffs out narcotics. In his career, he has assisted in 70 arrests, and an additional 14 arrests in which he had to attack and bite to bring a suspect down.
Anderson said he hopes Toby will be able to work another year in his highly athletic job. The dog appears healthy and sound, and he does his work with an obvious maturity and focus. He'll retire in style in Anderson's home when he does hang up his leash.
Another great story I heard when I attended the ALECA Tuesday, July 14, 2009 public demonstration at Tim's Toyota Center was the one of "Quest," the little Springer Spaniel that drug dealers are fond of laughing at during traffic stops - until she quickly jerks the sheets off the dope.
Handler Paul Daly of Boulder City, Nevada said Quest is one of two dogs he works with, because Quest is obviously not a patrol dog. She's so sweet looking that it's hard to imagine her biting anything. But she has an awesome nose. Daly said he got Quest after she had been through two other departments and hadn't worked out because no one had yet understood how to channel her play drive.
"I worked with her for three or four months, and we became partners in 2005," Daly said. "She's 9 now and we've been together for four years."
Daly said Springers aren't uncommon as narcotics/explosives sniffing dogs in Europe. But people on his patrols often find her amusing.
"They laugh, which is fine," he said. In fact, the audience at Tim's chuckled as Daly and Quest entered the arena on Tuesday. But she ignored it all and speedily located a pound of marijuana in the trunk of a car.
Daly doesn't seem to give a hoot when people laugh at Quest, even when some of the other officers look a bit askance when he comes in with the little brown-eyed dog with a summer shave. He knows she has the goods. And she puts up with his patrol dog, a Belgian Malinois.
While these officers know that their jobs, and their dogs' jobs, are dangerous, and they shouldn't get too attached, it appears to be pretty impossible to stay at arm's length. Toby and Quest obviously know their jobs, but the bond they've built with their handlers is pretty obvious, too.
I'm thinking that when a police officer loses a canine in the line of duty, to borrow from Alfred Lord Tennyson, it's "better to have loved and lost, than never to have loved at all."
That said, I hope Toby and Quest have a long, relaxed retirement in the homes of their handlers. They've certainly earned it!
Posted: Monday, July 20, 2009
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The members of the Arizona Law Enforcement Canine Association would like to thank the residents and business owners of the quad city area for their wonderful hospitality during our training. We had a great time and hope and hope to come back next year.