The newest bomb-sniffing dog in Pierce County is ready to get to work.
Dos, an 18-month-old Belgian Malinois, will begin random checks at Pierce Transit centers next week with his handler, sheriff’s deputy Bill Hultman.
The partners have been training together for three weeks, doing obedience and smell drills.
When Dos correctly alerts on explosives by sitting down with his nose pointing toward the scent, Hultman immediately rewards him with a tennis ball.
The dog’s drive has been his biggest asset, Hultman said.
Dos was bought with a federal Department of Homeland Security grant for $9,000 and trained in Indiana at one of the largest K-9 facilities in North America.
“After we saw him, we didn’t need to see any more dogs,” Hultman said.
He recalled watching Dos drag his then-handler into the training facility, eager to get to work.
In addition to doing random sweeps at transit centers, Dos and Hultman will also respond to calls from other agencies and do community demonstrations.
Dos was sworn in Sept. 9 after K-9 Diego, a 9-year-old black Labrador retriever, was retired after being diagnosed with terminal heart cancer.
Hultman, who has been with the Sheriff’s Department for 18 years, was selected more than seven years ago to partner with a bomb-sniffing dog.
Diego was his first. Dos is his second.
The two dogs get along, but Diego can’t play and roughhouse as much as the younger dog would like.
Diego is spending his last days in the family’s home being spoiled. The Hultmans are feeding him steak and hamburger, letting him sleep on the couch and giving him extra pats.
“He is my heart,” Ana Hultman, the deputy’s wife, said Thursday as she lovingly held Diego’s face.
Diego was more of a lover. Dos has unparalleled energy.
He easily ran through two drills Thursday morning, correctly finding explosives materials in one of three cans and finding more hidden on Hultman’s truck.
“He gets better and better every day,” Hultman said.
The department has started an honorary fund for Diego to raise money for the explosives K-9 program. Donate at www.gofundme.com/K9Diego.
Stacia Glenn: 253-597-8653