WATCH: Quinn Ohler introduces us to Edmonton Fire Rescue’s newest, and cutest, recruit.
EDMONTON – He’s young, energetic, super friendly, and has an incredibly keen sense of smell — all of which makes him the perfect canine candidate for Edmonton Fire Rescue Services.
One-year-old Grover, who’s a Bloodhound, black Labrador and Jack Russell Terrier-cross, graduated Tuesday along with 16 other new recruits.
Grover has come a long way over the past year. He was rescued as a puppy by a New York state animal hospital after his first owner abandoned him.
Staff at the hospital noticed his potential and turned him over to the New York State Fire Academy Department of Homeland Security. That’s where Grover recently completed eight weeks of training, which included improving his agility, canine etiquette and fine-tuning his sense of smell.
Now he’s ready to serve alongside Edmonton fire investigators. His official title is Accelerant Detection K-9.
“His job is to search for, detect, and then indicate the presence of an ignitable vapour residue — gasolines, kerosene, paint thinner, starter fluid, alcohol…that kind of stuff,” explained Captain Murray Steedsman, a fire investigator and Grover’s handler.
With Grover’s help, arson investigations in Edmonton will hopefully move a little quicker and more efficiently.
“A dog’s nose is more sensitive than any man-made instrument that’s been used so far,” Steedsman said.
The two will be attached at the hip from now on, with Grover even getting to go home with his new partner.
“That’s kind of the neat thing about the program, is that we take dogs that may have been abandoned, may have been abused…we give them a second chance and they’re never alone.”
Grover will be joining veteran Sprocket on the EFRS Fire Investigations K9 Unit. Chief of Investigations Wayne Pawlowski admits the two do get some special treatment.
“Our two K9s, Sprocket and Grover, are the only two staff members that I give belly rubs to,” he joked.
Edmonton Fire Rescue Services established its K9 Unit in 1996. The unit participates in up to 50 investigations each year.
© Shaw Media, 2014