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Part of the pack

Colonie prepares successor in one-dog canine unit

The Colonie Police Department recently purchased Vader, a 16-month-old German shepherd who will complete patrol, tracking and narcotics training and become the 11th dog in Colonie history to join the K-9 Unit Patrol Division.

The Colonie Police Department recently purchased Vader, a 16-month-old German shepherd who will complete patrol, tracking and narcotics training and become the 11th dog in Colonie history to join the K-9 Unit Patrol Division. Photo by Zan Strumfeld.

— “We want them thinking that no matter what situation we put them in, even if it’s going in against somebody that possibly has a gun, which I know my dog’s not going to win that battle, I want my dog going in thinking, ‘Based on my training, I can beat anybody. There’s nobody that’s going to stop me.’ And that’s what we need the dogs to think,” Shaw said.

Since the vests are fitted specially for size, Vader will need a brand new one. St. Pius X School in Loudonville is holding a bottle drive to raise money for Vader’s vest.

Training all depends on the dog, Shaw said. While Vader is in training, the department’s current dog, 11-year-old Beny, will continue to work until Vader is certified. Since the department only uses one dog at a time, once Vader is ready, Beny will retire after his 10 years of service.

“The dog will be with the handler until as long as they live,” Shaw said. “Beny gets to retire and enjoy life. It’s part of a pack mentality, just like wolves. (The) dog has to feel that part of the pack.”

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