Wilco Sheriff's Office to put K-9 Unit's first ever rescue dog to work this weekend
Whenever you see Bolo - a lab mix - sniff around, play with his chew toy, and giving Deputy Jeremy Stewart kisses, make no mistake. He's not dogging it: he's training for his first weekend on the job.
This will be a historic weekend for both the K-9 deputy dog and the Williamson County Sheriff's Office, since Bolo will be the unit's first ever rescue dog - just months after spending the beginning of his life in a shelter.
Stewart says Sheriff Robert Chody and the K-9 Unit trainer spotted Bolo at the Williamson County Regional Animal Shelter, and adopted him in August. Just one week ago, he completed his narcotics training. "Bolo had a lot of drive. [The K-9 unit trainer] called me, I went over there, met Bolo, and decided we give it a shot," Stewart said.
Stewart says Bolo will start off as a narcotics dog, but he is hoping to expand his role soon. "We will get him trained on tracking, and we will utilize him to track missing kids, elderly, special needs, and possibly articles. Bolo has a great nose, and loves to work," Stewart said.
Workers at the shelter say they are proud of the Bolo's accomplishment. "These dogs are super smart and driven, and just need the right placement," said Misty Valenta.
Valenta says she's hoping more police departments and sheriff's departments follow in the footsteps of the Williamson County Sheriff's Office.
She also says many dogs in the shelter can be put to work outside of law enforcement. Valenta hopes more shelter dogs are used as service animals. "Shelter dogs are not thrown-away dogs. They all have their qualities and special skills. Some have left the shelter, and have become the perfect family dog, while others serve a higher purpose," Valenta said.
Stewart also says he hopes Bolo's story inspires others to take a chance on a rescue dog. "I think showing that going from running around the street, dodging for his meal to being a full-blown K-9 cop would motivate people. There's great dogs in those shelters. They just need a chance," he said.