Our homeschool group recently got to visit the local police department. The whole trip was exciting to all of the children, and the officer’s were wonderful at explaining what the police do for the community. The children were full of questions and observations. There was an investigation in progress, so we couldn’t go in some of the rooms, but I think that really drew some of the kids attention to the fact that those people work hard to serve us, and have very important jobs.
There were a couple of highlights for the children. One was the maps showing repeat crime spots. Another was the patrol car and getting to hear the siren. The most exciting part of the trip for our children, though, was meeting the K-9 officer and his dog! The dog was a very large German Shepherd, and he watched his handler very closely. We learned that the canine lives with his handler, but is never treated like a pet. The handlers often adopt their dogs after they are retired. The officer talked to us about how the dogs are trained, and how they are kept in shape for the job. He showed us the training tool, a toy, that is the dogs reward for doing his job well. They never use food to reward these dogs!
Each dog cost’s the department around $3,000. The officer has to train with his dog, and often gets bit. They cannot be afraid of the animals, and they have to learn commands in another language as these dogs come from another country and don’t “speak” English. The children were very impressed at how the dog acted and at what he could do. It was very obvious that he was highly intelligent, and while he looked sweet as could be, one could sense his alertness and the fact that he could be very fierce if the command was given.
Outside the department we saw a memorial for K-9’s that had died. A few of the children were very interested that these dogs were given the respect and acknowledgment of having spent their lives serving us just like people were.
The memorial says this;
“You gave all and asked nothing in return, turning to meet our foes and standing bravely with your team without hesitation. Rest in peace for you have fought a good fight and redefined your creeds. We will remember you with pride and love.”