Listen: MEG, Kodak, Kansas discussed on Let's Talk Pets
"Welcome back to working like dogs on pet life radio. Hello and welcome. Thank you for having me. We're so excited to hear about the work that you're doing. So can you start out by telling us a little bit about your job at the Kansas department of wildlife parks and tourism like you mentioned a mistake. Game ordinance. We spend a majority of our time checking people hunting fishing, boating, trapping, those kind of things as a canine officer. Of course, they have additional duties that that go along with with all of that. Game wardens in Kansas. We're fully certified law enforcement officers. So we can enforce all laws. It's not just the hunting and fishing boating types of things we do a little bit of everything as it comes along as we come across it. Well, and so tell us how did you start working on as part of the canine unit? Kansas started its canine program back in I believe two thousand and two when we initially started the five dogs and started the canine program and since its inception in two thousand and two we've had dogs, of course, retired. And handlers that have decided to maybe not do a second dog or take another avenue in the department. So that's just opened up additional positions for canine handlers within our department, and I was hired or promoted in two thousand eleven the canine handler, and I had my first dog canine make in two thousand eleven when I started with her. So may have been working with someone else before, you know. She was my first dog, and I was her. First handler. Oh nice. And in MAC is she retired recently retired her in January this year. She worked for almost eight years or seven years, she was a chocolate lab and all of our dogs in the past from two thousand two until this year were dogs that were rescue dogs or dogs that were donated to us from families that I don't like to use the word didn't want them anymore. But they just were maybe too much to handle for them. Because a dog to do the line of work that we need it has to be extremely high energy a little high strung, and sometimes they don't always make the best pets in the world for the first two years frustrating. So we take those dogs with all that high energy and see if they can do the job we need them to do. And that's kinda how Meg came to me. She actually actually was the dog that we believe was dumped or ran away because she showed up. On a on a lady's front porch in the middle of up on the Nebraska Kansas state line when she was just a puppy. She had a caller on her, but the caller had grown into her neck, and, you know, even at a young age is about a year old you could tell that she probably had the greatest life. So that lady took her in and kind of adopted her was never able to find an owner. But Meg was just too much for her to handle. And what she heard that. We were looking for dogs to prefer canine program. She contacted us and wanted to know if Meg might work. So we went and met with her, and we were able to to take and put her in as a working dog and made everybody happy, I think Meg head a little bit of better life, and the the lady that founder, I think felt very very happy. And very proud of what Meg has done over. Yeah. Yeah. That's wonderful. So yeah, Meg had a higher calling that she had to do. Yeah. That's great. And so you said that you used to accept donated dogs. You guys don't do that anymore. Longer because of maybe health issues or something. Well, this is the when I got Kodak this year. We actually started three new dogs this year and Kodak courses one of them. But we decided and the department decided this year that we're going to purchase dogs, and for that reason that you stated to avoid to try and help avoid some of the health problems that labs have because that's the labrador retrievers are the breed that we use their sporting breed, and they just work well in wildlife law enforcement. Yeah. And you know, like Meg I know I know nothing about her history. Nothing about where she came from nothing about her background and part of the reason that since since he's retired right before she retired. Well, actually found out that she does have hit displays and it's gotten pretty severe. So she probably could've worked for another year. But you know, she's been been retired since January, and she is sure slowed down a lot. Yeah. Yeah. So, you know, nothing's foolproof, but we're trying to spend a little money and get a little. Little need a little bit of history on the dogs that were getting now and by spending money, I don't mean we're spending a lot because we're not very small drop in the bucket. We're actually the places that we have gotten the dogs from the three dogs that we got the breeders or the facilities that we got him from actually they wanted more than than we were probably willing to pay. But they were they were willing to donate the other part of that which helps us out greatly. Yeah. That whole breeding I know with assistance dogs that is a whole science. But you're right. There's you really do. I I know I love the idea of rescuing dogs than giving them a purpose and a job. But I also I'm like you. I see what happens when you have dogs that you don't know that history. And when you invest so much training, and so much education and resources into them. And then they can't work very long. It starts to become very problematic. Very quickly. Yes. Really does. And like, so we we retired. Mega a little early. And that was already planned before we knew that she had the hip displeasure. But in the long run that was probably the best thing for her. Yeah. And did you get to keep neck? Yes. Absolutely. Good. Good. I always say I have a retire. Your dog to whistle. And I always say that whistles on the couch watching TV while lovey is working. He really likes. Yes. So that's awesome. Meg deserves to have some good retirement days. She's still adjusting. Yeah. It's hard for her. You know for for almost eight years. She went to work with me every day working eight hours a day. And now she has to watch another dog getting her truck and drive away. Hurts. Yup. I know my my second dog Morgan actually, he never did accept his retirement. And every day I would have to dress him in his backpack. So that he thought he was working even when he was blind and deaf. He still had to get that backpack on every day and lay by my desk. So that he thought he was working, and he held it against whistle until the last day that he died that whistled his job. So yeah, it's you could tell certainly understand that pride in her work done, and it's hard to be left behind. Yeah. She she certainly enjoyed it. But her she did her time. And she did a lot of great things. It's time for her to pass the torch. And yeah, what a younger dog do it. So. Yeah. Bet you are excited because now you're working with Kodak and tell us about Kodak what kind of dog is. He goes back as a black lab. He's believe he's twenty. He's twenty one months old right now. Okay. Well, he's still a young guy. Yeah. I got him when he was five months old. So I got him. I got him almost a full year before I went to training with him because we do our canine training. It's it's a nine week canine school. We do it. We go to Indiana. Indiana Department of natural resources puts on a canine school for other states for the other game wardens and other states if there's enough of an interest, they don't necessarily have one every year, but when there's enough interest, and they can have enough for a school, which I think they prefer about five dogs is enough for a school and once they get enough interest. And then they will generally hold a school, which is as it's been really great because they're the instructors are magnificent. They've really great training facility. It's really good. Great training. It is a long nine weeks at times. But yeah. And do you stay there when you do the nine weeks or how does that work? Yeah. It's and I've done it twice. I went there with Meg. And I've done it with Kodak. But it's this last session that I went to with Kodak it was three weeks there three weeks home three weeks there than five weeks home, and then three weeks there. We just graduated on mate is when we finished. Wow. Congratulations. There were nine dogs in that school. There were three from Kansas two from Virginia three from Indiana. Wow. One and one from Idaho. How nice dice will tell us. What was that nine weeks? Like what were the dogs learning to do during that time, what are their tasks that they can perform they start out in the nine weeks school? The first probably the first five to six weeks is spent just on tracking man tracking people tracking detract people that for whatever reason either run from us. Maybe that are lost those kinds of things. That's the hardest thing to teach the dog is the tracking aspect of it. So we spend the most amount of time working on that. Yeah. It's not like what people see on TV 'cause I get asked all the time. Well, you know, here's here's a shirt that somebody will that was wearing can you go. Find them all that's not how our dogs are trained. Our dogs are trained to follow the the actual human scent of an individual person or the crush vegetation where they either walked around the track off of both our dogs. We need a starting point. Where was the last place that this person that we're looking for? Was murdered. They run through where did they walk away from those kind of things. Yeah. Yeah. Wow. That would be hard gosh. And what other tasks can they do what other things are they training for the next thing? After we progress through the tracking part of it. And they get that, Dan, you're say down to get it started to get it mastered a little bit. Then we graduate into doing what we call evidence recovery or areas searches are dumb, you're trained to to find anything with human scent on it and or gunpowder gun powder residue. Those kind of things or dogs can find guns shell casings. It's really limitless. When it comes to anything that anybody's test. Whether that'd be a cell that somebody lost whether that be a maybe a knife that somebody used to commit a crime, and they threw it out the window. It could be anything. Really? Wow. Back in megs day. You know, she found a wallet that hunter had actually lost ten days prior out in the field. And he just didn't know where he lost it. He'd looked and looked and looked and was unable to ever find it. And he called me and asked me if I thought Meg could find it. And I said, well, we can try because he didn't know exactly exactly where he lost it. He knew where he started Newry finished. Meg found it in six minutes. So we got. Wow. Wow. She's setting the bar really high for Kodak. Wow. Well, hold onto that thought Lance because we're gonna take a quick break. And here's an important messages from our sponsors. And we're gonna come back and continue talking about this training because I want to hear more about."