Wednesday, August 31, 2011
Did you know the Pentagon has two dozen highly trained K9 teams that are used to detect explosives, search vehicles, and patrol the premises to keep them safe? I didn’t until recently when Sarah Lagasse, K9 Sergeant at the Pentagon Police Department, contacted CANIDAE customer service. Sarah wrote to ask for some CANIDAE Pet Food banners or posters for their new kennel facility, because she said many of the Pentagon working dogs eat the food and not only that – they really thrive on it! I spoke with her recently to get more information on the Pentagon dogs and their very important jobs. Sarah’s current K9 partner is Aldo, a 4 year old Golden Retriever (soon to be 5) she’s been working with since 2008. Here’s what she had to say:
What is a typical day like for you and Aldo?
Aldo's duties are to detect explosives and be a deterrent. Our normal day usually begins with his exercise (playing ball), then he rides to work with me. We conduct roll call and give out the assignments for the other teams. We sometimes work at the Pentagon Remote Delivery Facility where all delivery vehicles are screened by K9 teams, and we do random patrols all over the Pentagon Reservation. We respond to calls for unattended items, bomb threats and many other types of calls. We also provide K9 support to visiting dignitaries, often searching their hotel suites and motorcades. We fit exercise, grooming and training in as often as possible.
What is Aldo’s temperament like?
Aldo is a typical Golden Retriever – he is very sweet, playful and loves everyone.
What part of his job does Aldo like most and least?
Aldo likes to search; when he is working, he is happy! When we work the receiving facility a lot, he doesn't seem to care for it much since he is searching a lot of vehicles numerous times a day and I think he gets a little bored. I have to keep his mind in the game, so our trainers will secretly put training aids (explosives) on vehicles so he will find them, get his ball and get excited to work again. We do this with all of the dogs since even as handlers, we get tired of these searches after doing that specific job for many hours straight.
How does CANIDAE help these working dogs do their jobs?
CANIDAE is perfect for our dogs. They are considered "athletes" since they get a ton of exercise by working so often. We wanted to make sure they received a high quality, high protein diet, and most handlers have gone grain free to keep allergy possibilities to a minimum. Ironically, I have been so happy with the change in Aldo's coat and his overall health, I changed my personal dogs' diet too - now they eat CANIDAE ALS. It’s easier since they are all different ages and breeds, and they love it!
How did CANIDAE become a preferred food for the Pentagon K9 teams?
Our K9 section was provided a certain type of dog food for years. Because we fall under the Department of Defense, we were instructed to feed our dogs the food the military dogs receive. After some research, we decided we did not want that food anymore. The handlers can now get a few certain brands of high quality food, and CANIDAE is one of the more popular foods requested. Our dogs eat pureLAND, Single Grain Protein Plus, pureELEMENTS and All Life Stages. Some of the handlers change which formula they feed every other month.
Tell me something that regular citizens might not know about the dogs that work at the Pentagon.
People might not know that we have police dogs at the Pentagon in general. There are currently 24 teams, and we are responsible for the Pentagon in addition to more than 30 other buildings within DC, MD, PA and VA. Another thing most people do not know is that we use many different breeds of dogs, including Golden Retriever, Labrador Retriever, German Shepherd, Belgian Malinois, Border Collie, Dutch Shepherd and a couple of mixed breeds, all assigned to the Pentagon.
Thank you Sergeant Sarah Lagasse, for filling me in on the K9 teams that patrol the Pentagon!
Read more articles by Julia Williams