FUN FUN FUN FUN FUN!!!!
The guys took some photos for me to share with you, so here we go with the AAR, visuals included. (PS -- any more time spent with SPD and I'm going to hightail it over to BLET. Seriously. Most fun I've had in ages!)
I arrived at 0800 and met up with the 4 K9 Officers. There were 2 Labs (narcotics-only dogs) and 2 Shepherds. We had to sign out some drugs from the evidence room. That was a whole new world for me. It looked like those metal ammo cases, but they had drugs in them! They told me to smell one of the bags of marijuana, and it stunk! It was REALLY fragrant. Like, Lab Fart fragrant. :hand5: Seriously, It smelled like a skunk rolled around in a bed of oregano or something. When I handed it back, my fingertips reeked! But I think there was a reason for this...our first exercise was hiding drugs in cars at an auction lot. I got to hide the pot because the space they wanted it in needed some small, skinny fingers. Also they said they wanted my scent on the bag because the dogs would be used to their scents already.
It was neat to watch them handle the dogs, and also watch the dogs themselves, as the labs alerted by sitting, and the shepherds alerted by scratching/digging. The one shepherd was NUTS! He definitely had one of the highest working/play drives I've ever seen, but he was a total schizo. I've never been scared of a dog, even the stray Rottie that bit me and tore up my hand. But this dog? This dog had me nervous.
Then we went to this old farm place and they put me in the BITE SUIT! (You guys were right. And thank you for the tips, it went swimmingly!
) Of course, they asked if I wanted to, and dumb me, I'm game for anything once, so without hesitation, I said "YES!" Dumb me. :redface:
Anyhow, it took THREE of us to get me into the suit. The suit was way too big, and it was very heavy. And it was like 90+ degrees and very humid out, so that was not the most pleasant thing, but I was still really excited. I went back to this little building, and they were working on recall. They said they were going to command the dogs to attack me, but try and recall them mid-run, and if they looked like they were going to get to me, to go in the building and close the door, NOT to let the dogs get a bite.
Easier said than done.
I got IN the building, but after the door closed, I realized there was no handle on the inside. And I couldn't move my arms because my hands only came down to 1/2-way inside the sleeves, AND it turns out the latch on the OUTSIDE of the door fell down and locked me in! But nobody noticed, so they're all calling for me to come out, and I'm trying to yell back that I can't, but they're too far away and can't hear me!
Eventually, they got closer and figured it out. But by that time, the absurdity of "Oh Bunny, what have you gotten yourself into?" hit me, and I was laughing too hard to yell very loudly. Um, we all had quite a chuckle once they "rescued" me.
Anyhow, THEN we got to do the bitework. The K9 that I got to ride with today, Bully, actually broke a guy's collarbone during bitework, so I didn't work with him, one of the bigger guys did. I got to work with the psychodog. Actually, it was FUN! I figured I'd already been bitten by a Rottweiler without a sleeve, how bad could a shepherd be WITH a bite suit? Honestly, I don't know who was enjoying it more, me or the dog. (Look closely at the photos, we're both grinning!) Also, I noticed that after each dog was called off, my heart was just POUNDING! I wasn't scared...at least, I don't think I was...but maybe there was an adrenaline rush there? It was also physically demanding, too. Just the weight of the bite suit alone was enough to get my cardio going, but I was really working the dog on the sleeve (like you guys said to, thanks for the tip!) and trying to run to-and-fro with him. By the time it was over, I was sweating and panting like I'd been out for a run! (Maybe I'm out of shape?)
So then I got to "scent" an unknown object. In this case, it was a fabric holster, and I got to rub my hands and hair on it. I threw it deep into a field, we let it sit a while, and then sent the dog in to find it. He did awesome, until he started eating the holster! :blink:
Then I got to lay down a track for the dogs to follow. I stomped my feet around and stuck a flag in the ground at the "starting point," and then walked all around a field, by the pond, up to the tree-line, and hid the dog's favorite toy. Then I walked the tree-line up to the road, and back to the cars. We waited, and had the dog track my trail. The first dog did great, then I had to do another one for the second dog. He also did very well, but at the end, he got to go swimming in the pond.
I loved it right up until he shook himself dry in the car and I got covered in pond-scented dog-water. :gah:
All in all, tons of fun! Great dogs, great guys, and a very educational day for me. This was about 180 degrees from the training I normally do (I teach bite INHIBITION, here I was participating in bitework!), so I really enjoyed seeing how the other half works. Also, I got to see and smell Black Tar Heroin. Ew! Not that I'd ever wanted to come into contact with it before, but YUK! That stuff smelled nastier than anything I think I've ever smelled before. Gross!