When canines are private investigators, or just pretend they are


So this week I met a woman who works as a narcotics detective and also heads the canine unit. She loves her job--mainly because her black lab accompanies her everywhere. How much more agreeable would your work day become if you could look down and see your doggie curled up at your power strip, commiseration reified as you yip and yap into the phone?

When this woman heads to the park, she brings a plastic baggie like everyone else, but she also brings a small suitcase filled with drug samples--a little meth, some coke, you get the picture. She'll then hide the drugs somewhere, and command her dog (in German, so he doesn't get confused when she inadvertently drops commands in English throughout the day) to fetch.

Have you ever played this kind of modified fetch with a dog? Wherein the objects to be fetched are hidden? It's about the most fun I've ever had with a medium-sized mammal. We used to shut my childhood dog in a bathroom and busy ourselves hiding slides of Kraft cheese around the house, and when we finally let her out, it was practically Pamplona. The poor thing would go on sniffing in vain for days! Like a possessed John Walsh. And indeed our mother would scream at some stiff, grotesque triangle of processed cheese our canine unit star had missed.