This past Friday, June the 3rd, 2016 Felix Espinoza of the Brownsville Convention & Visitors Bureau invited me to attend the K-9 competition during the National Narcotic Detector Dog Association Annual Police K-9 Conference (what a long name!) held in Brownsville.
I had never really seen any police K-9 in training or anything remotely similar, so my husband and I headed out to St. Joseph Academy to see the dog competition. Unfortunately, no cameras were allowed, so I could not take any, but below is a link to a story by Frank Garza for the Brownsville Herald where you can see a few pictures of the dog competition. Law enforcers from all over the state and some from Mexico and Louisiana were present at the event.
Inside an air conditioned auditorium – under the watchful eyes of Oblate priests whose image is plastered in large banners hanging from the ceiling and the comforting presence of the Holy Spirit in a stained glass window – one by one, on a leash, skilled canines sniffed through carefully placed artifacts spread throughout the gymnasium’s floor. Artifacts included suitcases of all sizes, hard-top cases, file cabinets, projectors, tightly-sealed boxes and containers and the like.
Each trainer/dog team had 3 minutes to inspect a few dozen items and holler “ALERT!” each time the dog believed to have found something. Some dogs barked, some sat in front of the item, but for the most part only the trainer knew how to descifre the dog’s reaction to finding narcotics. About 5 people were judging their performance.
To me the competition was very interesting. I love dogs and I know how much they like to feel useful and to make us proud. These dogs were into this – they were focused. Some were calm others more anxious, but all of them focused on the task. I heard several other “tests” were conducted during the half-day event. I believe this is part of continuing education courses. What is most amazing is that these dogs help keep us safe – and that is something to be grateful for.
Read more here and enjoy some good photos.
Featured photo is of Felix Espinoza (right) and me Nydia Tapia-Gonzales at the event.