Meet K9 Bullet
K9 Bullet and handler Trooper Robert Haase of the New Hampshire State Police
Photo courtesy of Mass Vest-A-Dog
Down and out does not really come close to describing Bullet’s situation
before we got a hold of him. Chained to a doghouse in the snow filled yard
of a Massachusetts shelter, Bullet was actually one of the luckier dogs
there. Unwanted or lost, he had landed in a shelter run by an animal
control officer suffering from mental illness. Sick and perhaps unaware,
the ACO stopped going to the shelter, stopped giving the animals in his
care food and water for weeks. Some inside the building died and became
food for their barely living kennel mates. Outside, with snow to eat,
Bullet was lucky indeed.
When the shelter was raided he was discovered out back. He was starving,
sick and full of worms… but alive. What turned into a rather high profile
incident brought a lot of attention to Bullet and his plight. He was taken
in by well meaning would be owners. As his health began to return so did
his energy and drive. This high drive, energy ball, prey monster was no
pet dog. The well-intentioned pet home was completely out of its league,
and they knew it. They were put in touch with GSRNE.
GSRNE had not a doggie bed to spare,
but we were able to intervene on Bullet’s behalf and find him temporary
safe refuge at the Animal Rescue League of Boston. Once we evaluated
Bullet he showed us just why the pet home had been taxed beyond its
abilities. Experienced evaluator Janice saw a stable, confident, prey
driven dog with good focus and work ethic. This boy needed a job.
The GSRNE Working Dog Program contacted
the New Hampshire State Police K9 unit and the rest, as they say, is
history. No more snow cones for dinner. Together with handler Trooper
Robert Haase, K9 Bullet spends his time making a difference, giving back
and shining on.
GSRNE volunteers and support of the
GSRNE Working Dog Program make happy endings, like K9 Bullet’s, possible.
Meet K9 Nikki
For many, this boy needs no introduction.
His appearances on the Animal Planet “K9 to 5” show and his story in the
K9 to 5 book make him GSRNE Working Dog Program’s most well known K9. Just
like many famous individuals, however, he has a modest and troublesome
Left tied to a
doorknob all day while his owner was at work, 8 week old Nikki had
something to cry about…and he did, so much so that the owner’s landlord,
hearing him cry day after day, agreed to assume care for him when the
owner moved out of his apartment. The kind landlord had Nikki until he was
3 months old. As Nikki grew so did his energy level, his wild desire to
play with toys and objects of all kinds and his boredom at not having
something to do. The landlord thought his daughter and her husband might
be better able to care for Nikki, so he went to live with them.
Home alone all day while his new owners
worked and let loose without a fenced area for safe play, Nikki would
wander the neighborhood and get into trouble. His owner’s meant well but
knew nothing about obedience or how to handle a high energy, high drive
dog. Almost a year after taking Nikki, the couple admitted that they had
taken on more of a dog then they wanted, or knew how, to handle. Nikki was
high maintenance. He required too much time and attention, was prone to
barking and wandering and clearly needed structure and obedience. The
couple reluctantly put him in a shelter.
GSRNE was able to take him into foster
care and found a place for him where all his wild energy and drives would
be coveted. Nikki went to work for the United States Coast Guard. Trained
as a narcotics detection “K9”, he became that famous boy in books and on
television. No longer the headache that nobody wanted Nikki had found his
Nikki’s ability to scent out drugs was so
good that when his handler, Chief Rusty Merritt, retired from the Coast
Guard he felt it only fair to find his partner a new job. He knew Nikki
thrived on being a working dog and doing his job well. Nikki was still
young and history had shown that a pet only lifestyle would not suite him.
Nikki found another job and a great family life with his new partner-
Sergeant Art Cunio of the Surf City Police Department in North Carolina.
Nikki is the best drug dog the department-head has ever seen. He and
Sergeant Cunio continue to find the drugs and keep their community safe.
rags-to-riches story was made possible by GSRNE volunteers and by
donations to the working dog fund.
Not too long ago, a Boston MA area animal
shelter was facing a difficult decision- what to do with Wolfgang. At the age of
two years, Wolfgang was energetic, pushy, intense and full of drive. Not the
kind of dog who would be a good pet for most families. With kennel space
evaporating, Wolf’s time was running out. It was becoming clear that he would
not be suitable for a pet home. Most pet owners would not want, or be able to
handle, a dog like Wolf…yet, there was something really special about
him. The way he was always ready for a game of fetch or ‘find the toy’.
The way he looked at you, wanting to be with you and…do something. The
Boston shelter contacted GSRNE.
GSRNE pet placement coordinators agreed with the
Boston shelter. Wolf was not appropriate for a pet home and with lack of proper
supervision and training would very likely end up back in a shelter or pound…or
worse. Fortunately there was an alternative solution- the GSRNE Working Dog
Program. Wolfgang may have been the wrong candidate for pet but he was just the
right candidate for “K9” service dog.
Wolfgang was placed in a foster home and cared
for till a suitable unit and handler were found. Now Wolfgang is doing what he
was meant to do, working with Trooper Erik Ramsland and the Massachusetts State
Police K-9 Unit.
volunteers and charitable donations to The Working Dog Fund made Wolfgang’s
On a damp and breezy day I
first met Fritz- a dog who was not cutting it in his “family pet” role. Tied out
back, because his activity level and high maintenance temperament did not fit
his family’s life style, he became a barker. He disturbed the neighborhood, he
bothered the owners, he became a nuisance to live with, and he had to go.
A local dog groomer who had
met Fritz and was familiar with his situation felt that Fritz deserved a life
more appropriate to his needs. He was a good dog… just bored, neglected
and frankly a pain in the butt for a pet home to deal with. The dog groomer
On that damp breezy day I
saw a confident, casually friendly but aloof boy who would sell his soul for a
ball…or jute roll, or kong toy or any toy you had and wanted to play
with. After a short game of fetch, I hid the ball in some tall grass while Fritz
was not looking. The game was afoot! Fritz did not give up searching ‘till he
found that ball. He scented it out with a focused intensity…all this with not
one day of training. I could see why Fritz was exhibiting destructive or
annoying boredom behaviors. He needed a job to do.
Now Fritz is using his
natural ability every day. No more chain in the back yard. Together with Trooper
Michael Real of the Connecticut State Police K-9 Unit he spends his time
tracking suspects, finding lost children and serving his community in a myriad
of ways- most recently, searching at ‘ground zero’ in New York City for nine
volunteers and charitable donations to The Working Dog Fund made Fritz’s
Contact the Working Dog Program