Don’t let the walnut eyes and brown angel kisses on that sweet face fool you … this guy is all business 24/7 when it comes to finding drugs and protecting his handler. Unless you happen to have a Kong … then it’s time to play!
Meet Retired Canadian Police K9 “Navy,” from the city of Longueuil, located on the south shore of the Saint Lawrence River, directly across from Montreal. Navy is a 4-year-old Sable German Shepherd, born and trained in Czechoslovakia, then imported into Canada to protect and serve the community.
Navy is trained in not only protection and suspect apprehension but also finding and indicating the presence of many drugs, including heroin, cocaine, marijuana, ecstasy, and methamphetamines. He has received many accolades for his police work.
K9 Navy entered the force at 2 years of age and worked tirelessly for the first year and a half of his career, until a genetic defect was found in his back leg. A tendon was not attached well, and the veterinarian determined that long-term work in high-impact situations would likely result in a life-altering injury for Navy. Sadly, the department had to make the decision to retire him.
K9 Navy sat in the kennel while the city debated his future. This was at a time when he could not be retired with his handler, and in Canada, Police K9s are considered “dangerous dogs” and cannot be adopted by the public. The outlook looked bleak for Navy, yet his Kennel Master and K9 Department head were searching with the hope that he would be able to find a loving home with someone that could handle a dog with his level of training and the provide the time and stimulation required with high-drive working dogs. They made it a point to visit K9 Navy daily to play with him and give him the necessary exercise he craved.PHOTOGRAPHY COURTESY BOB BRYANT»
Navy is not your ordinary working dog. He is not a “sit on the couch” dog or a “let anyone pet me” dog. He was and will continue to be a challenge. He required a strong handler that understood his needs and capabilities and knew how to work with him in public.
After three months of searching, the K9 Department heads learned about the organization Mission K9 Rescue, a U.S.-based nonprofit organization that rescues and transports working dogs from locations worldwide to their rehabilitation facility in Houston, Texas, where they are rehabilitated if needed, then adopted into loving homes.
They connected with the organization’s co-founder, Bob Bryant, and explained Navy’s plight. Bryant agreed that Mission K9 would step up to provide rescue for Navy and a loving home. At that time, Bryant had no idea that K9 Navy would ultimately be coming to HIS home; however, the more he thought about it, the more sense it made.Bob Bryant»
Bryant had lost a working dog he dearly loved nearly two years before learning about K9 Navy. MWD (Military Working Dog) Oreo was a retired bomb dog that served in Iraq. Oreo also did not have a handler to return to, so Bryant adopted him and loved him for the five short years they had together before he passed away. There was always an empty place in his heart and he felt something was missing, but could not bring himself to take another dog at the time.
Time often doesn’t wait for us to be ready. This “time” was no exception. Bryant was the logical person to adopt K9 Navy, as he had the skill and knowledge required to handle a high-drive working dog. After thinking about it for a few days, the decision was made, and the only other obstacle was how to get K9 Navy to his new home in Southern California.
There was a major issue at play in getting Navy out of Canada, into the United States, and then back to Southern California. In February 2020, the city gave the final approval to turn K9 Navy over to the care of Mission K9 Rescue. COVID-19 was on the rise. Flights were being canceled, and Bryant had to act fast if he was going to make the transfer happen.
Bryant did not want to risk flying Navy on a commercial flight. He had never met the K9 and patrol training posed a safety risk to airline passengers. He also did not want to have Navy shipped by cargo to a new person who not only did not know him, but did not know his temperament. Bryant decided to have Navy driven to Burlington, Vermont, where he would fly in to meet Navy, then drive home with him in a rental van to SoCal, over 3200 miles.
It was a cold Tuesday arriving in Burlington. The winter had lingered in that part of the country, and there were snow flurries. Bryant waited at the hotel for the K9 Team from Longueuil to make the 3-hour drive across the border and into Burlington. They arrived in their van with K9 Navy secured in a single, XL vari-kennel.
Navy greeted Bryant as he came out of the crate. He was excited and a little anxious, but happy to receive a giant red Kong toy as a welcome gift! Moving into the hotel room, he delighted everyone by thoroughly searching the room for drugs, and finding none, still demanded a treat for his work.PHOTOGRAPHY COURTESY BOB BRYANT»
Navy is very possessive of his toys. His game is to get you to try and take them from him. Bryant succeeded the first day and got a nip for his trouble. He hadn’t learned to play the game right. Navy wants you to bump both him and the toy while he growls and acts menacing—just don’t actually dare to take the toy.
For six days, Navy was on the road and searched every single hotel room he stayed in. His manners were impeccable, his appetite unfillable, and his loyalty was unquestionable.
Through ice, snow, driving rain, and finally into the warmth of SoCal, Navy came to his new home, where he will have years of love and enrichment. The stay-at-home orders in place for COVID-19 allowed Bryant the time to really get to know Navy and bond with him in a special way.
You will see the two together at parks in the area, and whenever Bryant has to go somewhere, if it’s not too hot, K9 Navy is ready for the ride along to anywhere! He considers it his “job.”
Bob Bryant is the chief technology officer of Mission K9 Rescue, an animal welfare group dedicated solely to rescuing, reuniting, rehoming, repairing, and rehabilitating American working dogs. Learn more at www.MissionK9Rescue.org.
Mutual Rescue™ illustrates how rescuing animals impacts the lives of humans, often in quite profound ways. The lives of both people and pets are enriched when homeless animals are adopted and local shelter groups are supported through donations and volunteering in their communities. Check out the video links below.
“Jade & Trubs” An unadoptable cat with a chronic illness and an autistic girl form an instant and unexpected bond.
“Eric & Peety” He weighed 340 pounds and was diagnosed with high cholesterol, high blood pressure, and Type 2 Diabetes. His doctor told him he had 5 years to live. Then he met a shelter dog who changed everything.
“Kylie & Liza” In her final days, a young girl with cancer was comforted by a rescue kitten. The kitten then intuitively comforted the grieving family after Kylie’s passing.
“Tracy & Jack” When a woman and a dog separately suffered extreme injuries, they managed to heal each other. The dog’s positive attitude and spirit helped her along her own road to recovery.
“Mike & Abbie” When everything in his world collapsed around him, a young man found a shy Kelpie pup traumatized from having been abandoned on a busy highway. Together they embarked on a remarkable journey of recovery that resulted in travel, accolades, and joy.
“Patrick & Grace” After taking in an abused pit bull, a young competitive athlete suffers a debilitating stroke. This is the story of a strong dog and strong man building each other back up.
“Sarah & Domino” A young woman’s chronic pain led her to become addicted to drugs. Rescuing a neglected dog became a catalyst for change in her own life.
“Kim & Brian & Lana” A young couple is devastated by the death of their newborn baby. Adopting a German shepherd mix gave them an outlet for their grief and helped the couple bond again.
Mutual Rescue: How Adopting a Homeless Animal Can Save You, Too»
Available at your favorite Bookstore: Mutual Rescue: How Adopting a Homeless Animal Can Save You, Too