Shelter dogs need homes and a purpose. Police departments need hardworking, intelligent dogs for their K-9 units. However, no one had thought to put these two needs together until Carol Skaziak founded Throw Away Dogs in 2014.Carol Skaziak is married to a police officer, and she has seen firsthand how important good dogs are to law enforcement. K-9s can be used to protect their officers, search for criminals or injured people, and sniff for drugs, among other jobs. However, importing police dogs from Europe, a common practice, is very expensive. When Skaziak realized that many abandoned shelter dogs could be trained to work with police, Throw Away Dogs was born.
Throw Away Dogs rescues dogs from shelters and owner abandonment and gives them the basic training they need to go into a police K-9 training program. Dogs that are suitable for police work need confidence, intelligence, adaptability and a high play drive to succeed. Once the dog is trained, it is tested, and, if found ready for K-9 training, it is donated to a police department in need of a dog. Police departments typically spend $5,000, $10,000 or more for a “green” (ready for K-9 training) dog, so this program can make the difference in whether a cash-strapped department can add a dog unit.
The police aren’t the only ones to benefit. Throw Away Dogs gives these at-risk shelter dogs a home and an important job to do, and if a dog in the program is deemed unfit for police work, the organization retrains it or makes sure to find it a good family. K-9 units are an important component of police work, but the cost of obtaining suitable dogs can be prohibitive, especially for smaller departments. Training neglected shelter dogs and giving them an important job to do helps not only the dogs but the entire community. The inspiration is spreading; find out how another organization recruits unwanted shelter dogs and turns them into K-9 officers.
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