Ever so reluctantly it seemed, Taz took a break from his K-9 training earlier today on the Portland waterfront. Much of that time, he stared at his handler, Christian Stickney, totally uninterested in the reporter from MHN.com. His body language and imploring eyes asking – what’s up, boss? The pair was participating in a three day canine training session for “high risk deployments”, said Stickney. The three day event is hosted by the Portland Police Department for 18 canines and their handlers from all over Maine and New Hampshire. The instructor for the three day event is Jerry Bradshaw from North Carolina.
Taz, the sable (all dark) shepherd was purchased from a breeder in Slovina, a few years ago. Stickney said that dogs from Europe are bred to be working dogs so that’s where all the police dogs come from. There are currently five canines in Portland and the Police Department would like to have more because they are such an asset. Taz is trained for dual purposes, narcotics detection and patrol work. Patrol work includes tracking missing people, suspects, buildding searches, evidence recovery and to protect his handler, Christian Stickney.
There is a special bond between the two. “The bond with a police dog is special. They are our partners. My life can depend on him,” said Stickney. Taz, who focused on Stickney during the short interview, has lived with the Stickney family since he was 13 months old. Mike Sawyer, another canine handler from New Hampshire attended the three day training session as well. Sawyer lost his dog suddently to natural causes back in February of this year. Sawyer is looking for another police dog.
The interview ended because the handlers and their dogs had to move on to another location for the next phase of their training sessions which ends tomorrow, Wednesday. No publicity seeker he, Taz was more than ready to move on to the next phase of his training.