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Meet Our K-9 Officers: This Belgian Malinois is Sweet and Stalwart

Wednesday, March 13, 2019

This month brings the observation of National K-9 Veterans Day (March 13). This post is the fourth in an ongoing series, “A Different Breed of Officer,” featuring the St. Louis Fed’s K-9 program. We are profiling the dogs and handlers who dedicate their lives to keeping employees and visitors safe. For security reasons, names are not used.

By Christine Smith, Public Affairs Staff

Behind the scenes at the St. Louis Fed, a K-9 handler and his dog act as sentinels to safeguard both employees and visitors. They look intimidating, to be sure, but the bond they share is clear to all.

We sat down with our Law Enforcement colleague and his Belgian Malinois cross—code name: “Officer V”—to find out what it’s like to do this tough but essential job at the St. Louis Fed.

What was it like to meet your dog for the first time?

When we met the dogs for the first time, we kind of let them choose us. Another dog was originally supposed to be my dog, but she choose her handler. And Officer V choose me.

When we went to the kennel to pick them up, they came to us. Originally we were still like, “OK, that’s supposed to be your partner, and vice versa.” But by the next day, we realized Officer V would be better with me, and the other K-9 would be better with my colleague.

To me, that’s the better way of doing it, letting the dog choose who they want to be with.

How would you describe your partner’s personality?

I’d say she is spoiled – she loves attention all the time. She’s super smart: She reads me just like I read her.

She loves to run, and her favorite toy is a big ball. So I’m glad I have a big backyard; she likes to play fetch. When I get home from work, I’ll give her a good 10 throws.

How does it feel to watch your partner in action?

Every day on the job, it makes you feel good to know that all the training you’ve been through, it pays off. It shows in them.

One of the things she’s trained on is sniffing for explosives. After doing extensive training in detection techniques—such as blind “hides”—it gives you a sense of insurance that you know this dog can find what she’s trained to find. In fact, K-9s can smell up to nine different odors at one time.

And they know when they are in training. Wherever we go, they can tell if it’s training day. And when it is, they work that much harder.

What made you want to be a K-9 handler?

I’ve had dogs all my life. I love dogs!

Christine Smith 

Christine Smith is a senior specialist at the St. Louis Fed.

She works in the External Engagement and Corporate Communications Division.

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