Orange police K9 is top dog at Connecticut Olympics
Every dog has his day and for Orange Police Department K-9 Loki, it was July 28, when the 5-year-old German Shepherd from Czechoslovakia won best overall in the Connecticut K-9 Olympics.
Under the supervision of his handler, police officer Christopher Brown, Loki aced the charity event that included 35 teams.
To win, Loki nailed it in categories such as obedience, obstacles, criminal apprehension, building search.
Brown said he knew they were doing well, but, “I wasn’t sure I was going to win.”
“When they called my name, I was in shock,” Brown said.
It’s their third year competing and first year winning the top prize.
As for 80-pound Loki, he got his favorite reward in the world: His mouth-sized rubber ball.
Together, the pair got a plaque for their achievement.
Police Chief Robert Gagne said the win was an “outstanding achievement” that has made the department and town “very proud.”
“They are a fantastic team and turned in a great performance,” Gagne said.
The Connecticut K-9 Olympics, put on by UConn, is a daylong competition involving K-9 units from local police departments, the Connecticut State Police, and the Department of Corrections, according to Olympics website.
In this 27th year of the competition for charity, money raised goes to the Hometown Foundation (Special Olympics), the Children’s Health Insurance Program, Shriners Children’s Burn Centers and other police-related charities.
Brown, a nine-year veteran of the force who lost his first K-9, Major, in an accident on Route 34 years ago, got Loki when the dog was about 1-year-old.
Loki is named after a character in The Avengers, who is a mixture of both good guy and bad guy, Brown said. According to Marvel’s website, Loki is known as “God of Mischief” and brother to Thor. “Loki’s tricks and schemes wreak havoc across the realms,” the website states.
After losing Major, Brown wanted another K-9, visited the breeder and chose Loki because he was “very energetic, wants to work and is friendly.”
Brown grew up with dogs and now Loki is part of his own family. Although Loki gets along great with the family’s tiny dog, Loki is not crazy about other dogs, Brown said.
Loki is trained to track and find people and to apprehend criminals — so he bites the bad guys.
Loki recently found a person who took off into the woods, but who couldn’t be detected with thermal imaging tools, Brown said.
He always goes home with Brown and has free reign of the house, but there is nowhere Loki would rather be than work, Brown said.
The K-9 gets excited when he hears the rattle of Brown’s cruiser keys.
“He knows the difference,” Brown said of the keys. “He’s definitely a working dog,” although also a good pet.
While the K-9 team goes on special calls — including in other communities if needed — they are also on regular patrol, with Loki sitting in the back seat. The team also does special demonstrations at schools, camps and other events.
“It’s the best position in the police department,” Brown said of being a K9 handler. “I love it. You get to play with your dog at work.”
Brown, who said Loki’s strength is obedience, also trains him on a course at the police station build as an Eagle Scout project.
“Going to the K9 Olympics is a fun time,” Brown said, noting he’ll try to win again to at least tie a friend who won two years in a row. “It’s a great event.”
Gagne, known for fairness, couldn’t let his comments go by without mentioning the department’s other dog, Trent, a narcotics-sniffing Labrador handled by officer Mary Bernegger.
“We appreciate everything they do on a daily basis to help keep our community safe,” Gagne said of the K9 department members.