Even when she’s not on the job, Daisy likes to keep her nose to the ground.
The 14-month-old bloodhound is the newest member of the Spokane Police Department’s K9 unit. She was brought on specifically to track missing children and vulnerable adults with her handler, Sgt. Jason Reynolds, who supervises the unit.
“This doesn’t replace any of our patrol dogs. It supplements them,” Reynolds said.
Thanks to their long snouts, bloodhounds are often considered the dog breed with the best sense of smell. Reynolds said Daisy’s long ears and jowls form a sort of “scent cone” when she bends her head to the ground, allowing her to pick up older tracks other dogs might miss. Her floppy ears usually get wet when she drinks water, he said.
The department’s other dogs work with patrol officers to locate suspects and persuade them to surrender. That requires more extensive training on building and outdoor searches, as well as biting. As the unit’s supervisor, Reynolds proposed getting a tracking dog so he’d have time to train her and keep up with the rest of his job.
Patrol dogs are usually German Shepherds or Malinois dogs who come from Germany, the Netherlands or Czechoslovakia. Those dogs are bred specifically for police training and understand commands in the language of the country where they were trained.
Daisy is a rescue who came to the department by way of California one week ago. As an American-born dog, she’ll be one of the few on the force who can understand English commands.
“Although she’s originally from Arkansas, so I don’t know how good her English is,” Reynolds joked.
Donations to K9 Support Northwest, a local nonprofit, paid for Daisy’s purchase and a week of training with Reynolds in California. The organization’s founder, Carla Blazek, is a dog-lover who has shot photos of local police dogs for several years. The group also paid for Murphy, the department’s newest patrol dog, who’s still in training.
Blazek has been helping train Daisy by playing a missing person and letting the dog track her scent. Daisy likes to greet the people she finds with a nuzzle or a lick.
“She’s so sweet,” Blazek said.
Though she’s still young, Daisy is generally calm and doesn’t lose her cool around gunfire - something that’s rare among bloodhounds. Reynolds made the mistake of letting her sleep in his bed while he was in training in California and said she’s been reluctant to give up that territory at home.
“She’s a little rambunctious at the wrong times, late at night or early in the morning. The rest of the time, she just sleeps,” he said.
Daisy will be in training for several more months, but she’s certified to work as a tracker and could be called out the next time the department is looking for a missing person. She’s also eager to befriend other canines.
“I haven’t found a dog she doesn’t like yet,” Reynolds said.
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