Kiah is brimming with the kind of focus and energy that spells success for a police dog.
Not every dog out there gets to be a police department K-9 officer. Some particular traits are required, such as confidence, and not being distracted by other things besides the job at hand—a sense of duty.
What makes Kiah the pit bull sniffing-dog-in-training even more special, though, is her breed. While public perception tends to stereotype pit bulls as being vicious or unpredictable, not every police station is so sure about them either—typical police breeds include German shepherds, Belgian Malinois, and Dutch shepherds.
She was first found as a stray dog hanging around in a grocery store parking lot with a serious head wound. Animal Farm Foundation and Universal K9 selected her from a rescue shelter. The two organizations specialize in training dogs especially for police departments across the United States. They’re also on a mission to change perceptions about Kiah’s breed.
Kiah the pit bull made a serious impression with her performance in their Detection Dogs Program. Universal K9 director of operations and trainer Brad Croft says she is one of the most successful dogs to graduate.
“Kiah is one of the top three dogs I’ve ever placed,” he told Huffpost without hesitation.
Austin Pets Alive then reached out to police departments in New York state to see if the pit bull might interest them. Kiah did. Soon enough, she began training in Texas with Officer Justin Bruzgul of the Poughkeepsie Police Department. And together, they graduated as partners in November 2018.
Kiah would practice drills where she would detect plastic prescription bottles and then hold them securely to then be retrieved by her handler. The attentive trainee would be rewarded for a job well done with the tennis ball she so loves, Huffpost reported.
Since then, they’ve been patrolling the streets of Poughkeepsie and getting accustomed to being around the public—this as part of her training to become a narcotics sniffer dog. So far, Kiah has proven herself to be a great member of the police force.
“I’m getting her out there and exposing her to the public as much as possible,” Bruzgul said. “I’ve had nothing but great responses from the public.”
Croft has trained hundreds of dogs for police work and explains that it takes a very special dog to cut it in the force. Confidence is a foremost trait that a candidate must have. Fearlessness, curiosity, and focus are also favorable features. Kiah was the kind of dog who would leap 5 feet in the air in her kennel, and whose nerves were unfrazzled by the busy animal shelter activities. She was made for this, he knew.