Woof! Police Foundation gifts new K-9 dog to Edmonds Police Department
He’s only 17 months old and still has weeks of training ahead, but Hobbs, the new Edmonds Police Department K-9 dog, shows every sign of being a champion.
Good police dogs don’t come cheap, and the Edmonds Police Foundation has been raising funds through donations and sales of special commemorative plush dog toys to help pay for Hobbs. On Monday morning, Foundation President David Jones and treasurer Don Eager presented Edmonds Police Chief Al Compaan with a check for $9,231, to cover the costs of procuring and training Hobbs. (Note: A very limited number of plush dogs are still available for $20 each. To purchase, drop by or call the Edmonds-Westgate Veterinary Hospital, 700 Edmonds Way, 425-774-8801.)
“Hobbs will be Edmonds’ 11th police dog,” Compaan said. “Our first dog, Moses, came to us in 1978.”
Hobbs has big paw prints to fill. He’s taking over for Dash, a seven-year K-9 veteran, now settling into retirement as a family pet with handler Edmonds Police Sgt. Josh McClure.
“Make no mistake, police work is hard on a dog,” said Assistant Chief Jim Lawless, who described how Dash had sustained several injuries over his career, mostly in situations where he helped subdue bad guys. The average length of service of a police dog? “Between seven and nine years,” said Lawless. “Dash has definitely earned his retirement.”
Now it’s Hobbs’ turn.
A pure-bred German Shepherd, Hobbs was born and received basic obedience training in Germany. He was brought to the United States this summer by a local breeder who specializes in providing the highest quality dogs for police work. Brought to Edmonds last month to see how he’d fit in, he met and spent some time with his new handler, Officer Jason Robinson. The two bonded instantly.
“Within an hour it was clear that Officer Robinson and Hobbs were a natural team,” Lawless said.
Now the real training begins. The dog and Robinson will spend the next 10 weeks together working with the police department’s other K-9 team, Kira and Cpl. Shane Hawley. Like Hobbs, this is Robinson’s first stint with K-9 police work, so they’re both starting with a clean slate. A master instructor and dog handler, Hawley will help forge Hobbs and Robinson into a tight law enforcement team, ready to face the multiple challenges of police work.
But even then, it’s not over. Before Hobbs can begin regular duty as a police dog, he must pass a rigorous certification test conducted by State of Washington master dog handlers. “It’s an exhaustive test battery, and not all dogs pass,” said Lawless. “But I’ll put my money on Hobbs. He’s an exceptional dog.”
Assuming all goes according to plan, Hobbs will begin regular work on the force in about three months.
– By Larry Vogel