"The great pleasure of a dog is that you may make a fool of yourself with him and not only will he not scold you, but he will make a fool of himself too." -- Samuel Butler, Notebooks, 1912
"We're filing charges." -- Powhatan County D.A.'s Office, 2009
"...And they call it, 'Puppy Love'..." -- countless singers
Five Virginia Department of Corrections officers are in the dog house, having been charged with cruelty to an animal.
The arrests came after one of them was caught on video tape fondling Rin Tin Tin's penis while at training at the Academy for Staff Development (seriously, that's its name). The explanation later given was that the fondler had been a victim of hazing, duped into believing that by masturbating the dastardly dog he'd establish control over it (a practice proven effective with the male of our species...).
I suppose they could make a case for frustrated arousal of the animal, whose breed is unidentified in reports but I suspect was a cockapoo. But if unconsummated stimulation is a criterion, our custody facilities would enjoy a more equitable ratio of women to men.
Meanwhile, the mortified mutt is making the rounds like Carrie Prejean, petitioning the courts to stop copies of the tape from being distributed on the grounds that it was intended for personal use. Guess he's worried it'll turn up on Animal Planet After Dark.
Fortunately, K-9s are not just the butts (or other anatomical parts) of pranks. Some actually get the opportunity to do great police work.
And so a tip of the hat to Cook County (Ill.) sheriff's K-9 dog Ridges and his handler. Ridges helped collar a man who fatally stabbed a man and injured the child he was holding. Ridges was named after sheriff's police officer Michael Ridges, who was killed in the line of duty in 1985. Nice to know Officer Ridges' namesake is doing justice to his memory.
Personally, I like dogs. Hell, I love 'em. I do, however, use more conventional ways to establish control over mine (TASERs go a long way toward behavior modification...Just kidding).
I know I'm not alone. Indeed, the loyalty between man and dog can be reciprocal, such as the suspect who leapt out of hiding after a cop shot at his dog during a search and yelled, "Don't shoot my dog! I'm here!"
Law enforcement K-9s have provided all manner of safety, distraction, and entertainment through the years.
Where else are you going to hear somebody say, "Unless you can say, 'Stop biting my f***in' leg in Dutch,' you'd better stop resisting."
Or see a K-9 handler announce that he's going to deploy his dog only to realize that he'd left the dog back at his Bureau? (Ever heard a K-9 handler impersonate his dog over a P.A. system? It's great.)
Or hear about the K-9 handler who put his dog into the backseat of his patrol car - not knowing that another deputy had accidentally put a detained suspect in the same backseat moments before. Hopefully, it wasn't one that cops had recently fed a Hershey's to (Don't cops know that beyond making the dogs shit like there's no tomorrow, chocolate is toxic to 'em?).
I also appreciate the inventiveness with which dogs have been deployed. One of the more inventive uses of a K-9 was when a detective I used to work with, Jlot Inglis, used one to identify a suspect who'd stolen data from a computer. He had a K-9 pick up the scent and follow it to the employee's cubicle. Case closed.
They've been used to track scents from ballistic casings to gang members' houses. When one leapt onto the lap of one incriminated defendant, he simply said, "If it was a man, I could kill him. But what am I going to do to a dog?"
The manners in which our job has been facilitated and made safer through the use of dedicated K-9s run the gamut. Today, there are all manner of dogs that help cops daily, including cadaver dogs, arson dogs, narco dogs, and tracking dogs.
Yep, dogs are a cop's best friend.
But remember: If you ever find yourself at K-9 training and they tell you to masturbate your dog, just remember that they're probably trying to jerk you...around.