Bedford County Emergency Management Agency now has a new search-and-rescue dog, valued at $17,500 but donated to the county at no cost to taxpayers.
Duke, a 3-year-old German Shepherd, has had some preliminary search-and-rescue training and will be trained more extensively in human scent tracking and in cadaver tracking.
Scent dogs can even be of use in drowning cases, according to BCEMA director Scott Johnson, since scents can bubble up from a cadaver to the surface.
Duke will be partnered with Josh Taylor of BCEMA. Duke and Taylor will undergo several weeks of training together.
The firm Nashville K-9, which specializes in dog training for both public and private clients, donates a limited number of dogs each year — as many as four — to public service agencies, according to Nashville K-9 VIP training director Ali Hemyari. A dog recently donated to the Williamson County Sheriff’s Department is trained to detect electronic devices, and will be used to investigate Internet crimes against children.
Johnson said that Sgt. Karen Douglas of Tennessee Highway Patrol, who now works in the local THP district, formerly worked with THP’s K-9 program. It was Douglas who put Bedford County in touch with Nashville K-9, said Johnson.
Nashville K-9 partnered with former “American Idol” Kelly Clarkson in late 2016 to provide a therapy dog to an Alzheimer’s care facility in Williamson County.