Photo Credit: Katherine Frey / The Washington Post / Getty Images)
Emotional support dogs in schools are nothing new. Many school districts across the U.S. now have them. But one therapy dog in Colorado is adding to his responsibilities…by getting trained in gun and gunpowder detection.
Therapy Dog Moonlights as Gun Detector
It’s a sad state of affairs, but violence is prolific in American education systems. Administrators are doing everything they can to protect children from gun violence while they are at school. In Arapahoe County, that means sending a gun-sniffing dog on the rounds through school buildings so he can alert authorities to potential danger.
Rex is a 1-year-old Labrador Retriever who, in addition to providing students with support and comfort, now travels to different schools with his partner, Sheriff’s Deputy John Gray, to try to detect firearms hidden in lockers.
Rex recently completed training as a gun and gunpowder detection dog, making him the first school therapy dog in the state with this kind of dual certification.
“He can find ammunition, pipe bombs, shell casings, magazines and firearms,” Gray told 9 News. “He has the ability and the desire to look for guns and keep our kids safe,”
Double Dog Duty
Gray keeps Rex’s skills sharp with training exercises that involve hiding metal boxes containing gunpowder inside lockers. Rex quite literally has to sniff them out. Luckily, he hasn’t found any other guns or gunpowder in any schools yet.
What he has undoubtedly done, however, is brighten students’ moods as a therapy dog.
“It’s kind of cheesy, but I always say even if a kid’s not having a bad day, it could always be better, and they get so excited to see Rex,” Gray said.
Here’s hoping Rex’s talents are used primarily to lift students up and that someday, there won’t be a need for gun-sniffing dogs in schools.