Mon, Feb 11, 2019 - Page 2 News List

Police dogs find bombs and officers’ hearts

A SPECIAL BOND:‘When you’re happy, dogs are happy with you. When you’re sad, they sit at your feet as if trying to cheer you up,’ a Military Police dog squad officer said

By Aaron Tu and William Hetherington  /  Staff reporter, with staff writer

Training and playing with dogs are daily work routines for a military police dog squad, said Vice Captain Liu Hsin-hung (劉信宏), who recently talked about his experiences with the unit and his passion for police dogs.

In 2007, eight years into his military police career, Liu was transferred to the squad.

He said he was shocked the first time he was shown the pack of stray dogs that he would later train as service animals.

With the help of other officers, Liu said he warmed up to the dogs in just two days.

After spending more time with the dogs, he was surprised to discover that they would show him affection and beg for his attention, he said.

“When you’re happy, dogs are happy with you. When you’re sad, they sit at your feet as if trying to cheer you up,” Liu said. “They really understand human feelings.”

Each dog is partnered with an officer who spends three to four hours a day working with them, for instance by leading them through training exercises and rapport-building activities, he said.

When on duty, the dogs and their handlers have important tasks such as securing locations visited by high-level officials, including the president and vice president, and detecting explosives and other potential safety threats, he added.

Liu said that in March 2016, he saw first-hand what his canine partner, Edan, was capable of, when the dog stopped in front of a locker at the Nangang Exhibition Center that contained firecrackers.

Police dogs and their handlers form a special bond and learn to understand each other on a unique level, Liu said.

Liu recalled a former police dog named Charlie who needed to be retired and given up for adoption after 10 years in the unit.

“It was hard letting my old partner go, but I was happy to see him have a new chance at life,” he said.

Six months ago, Liu made a trip to Yilan to visit Charlie at his new home.

“As soon as I opened the door and called out ‘Charlie,’ he started barking and wouldn’t stop. He was so excited — it was like seeing an old friend that you haven’t seen for so long,” Liu said.

Liu is a member of Bomb Dog (幫狗), a dog enthusiast group made up of current and retired military police officers and members of the public who volunteer at dog parks. The group has donated more than 100 bags of dog food to help feed the pets of low-income owners.

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