October 22, 2005
The Virginia Police Work Dog Association is doing it's best to honor fallen heroes, and also asking for your help.
They know it's always a possibility, but never really expect it to come to fruition.
"When you literally see something lay its life down for you, it's just almost indescribable," said K-9 Handler Officer Andrew Gluba.
It's been one year since Officer Gluba's K-9 partner, Ingo, gave his life to save his partner's.
"I literally would not be standing here today if it were not for him, and I'm fully convinced of that," he explained.
Now officers from across the state are raising money for a Virginia Tech memorial in honor of all K-9 officers that have died in the line of duty.
"We all love our pets so much that we tend to forget the value that these working dogs bring to our lives," said Dr. Frank Pearsall, the Director of Development for the Virginia Maryland Regional College of Veterinary Medicine. "We're very pleased to be partnering with them in this endeavor."
In an effort to raise awareness, officer units invited the public to a K-9 demonstration.
The demo showed exactly how K-9 officers are trained for real-life situations.
Officers wearing protective gear act as the bad guys, and even though they know the commands to call the dogs off, it does them little good in the field.
"They're only going to listen to their handler," said Decoy David Hooper. "We still get bit. Some of the dogs will actually get in through the suit and they'll leave marks. Some of them pinch you pretty hard through the suit, some of them will actually compress your arm or your leg in the suit, they just have that much jaw pressure."
Despite the risks, decoys like Hooper do it repeatedly. "It's a lot of fun. It hurts a bit, but it's nice to see the dogs progress through the training," he explained.
The memorial will be built at Virginia Tech on the grounds of the Virginia Maryland Regional College of Veterinary Medicine.