WYOMING, Mich. (WOOD) — The second annual Wyoming Canine 5K walk was held in Wyoming Saturday morning.
The event was hosted by the Wyoming Animal Hospital and took place at Lamar Park. It helps fund and support the Wyoming Police Department canine officers and handlers. The event included a blessing of the dogs, a canine demonstration and silent auction.
The police dogs are not only used for the Wyoming Police Department, but also help neighboring departments in need.
“We use our dogs to support the surrounding agencies as well. There are some agencies who have canine units themselves but some don’t so when they need a dog, we lend one when we can,” said Officer Kresten Green, a canine handler.
Officer Kresten has had Azar, a 2-year-old German Shepherd for almost a year now after the 5K walk raised enough money last year to purchase him.
“I’ve had him since December and it’s my first dog so I’m still learning the ropes with him,” said Green.
Kresten told 24 Hour News 8 that the dogs are dual-purpose patrol dogs which means they are trained on a lot of skills.
“They’re certified in tracking, apprehension, building searches and area searches. They can find evidence. They are also certified in narcotics work,” said Green.
With those skills, the dogs serve as an integral part of the team.
“They serve a very integral role in our job. He does a lot of things we couldn’t do even if we wanted to no matter how much we train,” Green said.
The dogs are more than just partners; they become part of the family for the officers.
“He comes home with me, goes to work with me, sometimes goes on trips with us up to the cottage, things like that. So they’re just like having another kid. I see him more than my own family so sometimes I think they get a little jealous,” Green said.
The organizers hope to raise enough money to provide each dog with a bullet-proof protection vest.
Officers said the department is looking into purchasing another police dog in the future.