“I have always loved dogs, so finding a full-time career with working dogs was a dream come true and the perfect fit for me.”
In my position as Deputy Director of Canine Training, I provide direction and managerial oversight of the SOC Canine Training Center (CTC). I also take part in the solution of all sorts of issues having to do with people, dogs, vendors and logistics. Really, just about anything that has to do with the management of the CTC. I spend a significant amount of my time developing our talented staff, including canine trainers, canines and their handlers.
This is my second career. One of the questions I asked myself when I started searching for a new field was, what makes me happy? I have always loved dogs, so finding a full-time career with working dogs was a dream come true and the perfect fit for me.
I grew-up in a military family and spent a 30-year career in public safety. I began as a firefighter and then transitioned to law enforcement where I investigated arsons and explosions, which is how I became involved with working dogs. I was fortunate to have been accepted into the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives Accelerant Detection Canine Program, and worked for years investigating fires with my Accelerant Detection Canine, “Cadet.”
Knowing that the SOC Canine Training Center’s staff is providing a valuable service to our Government by providing the very best Explosives Detection Canine Teams in the industry. Perhaps even more importantly, we are keeping Americans safe in some of the most volatile regions in the world.
The most challenging aspect of my position is developing people. Yes, we train dogs, but we also spend a great deal of time shaping our staff to become successful leaders.
As canine trainers, we preach to canine handlers: “Trust your dog!” My story is about a fire scene I worked with a canine named “Cadet”. While “Cadet” as a working dog, did his job and identified areas where I needed to collect trace evidence of arson; gasoline, lighter fluid, etc., the owner of the burned building showed up and began to speak with the other investigators. On the way back to our vehicle, “Cadet” lifted his nose and began “bracketing” upwind, a behavior dogs exhibit when they smell an odor they are trained to find. He continued his search all the way to the building’s owner, sniffed his shoes, and sat. Sitting, of course, was the indicator that he had found the target odor. With new reason to believe that the man had set the fire, investigators questioned him. The outcome was his arrest for arson of an occupied dwelling. Trust your dog!
We are constantly searching for candidates who are passionate about training canines and people. To the correct person this is not simply a job, it’s a place where learning occurs every day while being surrounded by the dogs that we love.
Yes! If any members of the D&Z family are interested in learning more about our dogs at the Canine Training Center, I am available to answer questions and/or give a tour of our facility.