For more than a month, Thera-Dakota has spent every one of her dog days at the home of Watertown Police Department Sgt. Kirk Ellis.
Each day, the nine-year-old Belgian Maltese plays with the Ellis’ three children and the Ellis’ Chesapeake Bay Retriever, Magnum.
For almost every other dog, that sounds like an ideal life and the only life they’ve ever known. While that’s also a nice life for Thera-Dakota, it’s a great contrast from her previous, and exciting, life as a narcotics detection dog.
For the prior seven years, Thera-Dakota traveled with Ellis to work nearly every day in the quest for the next drug bust. Ellis first picked her up when she was two years old at Hartsfield–Jackson Atlanta International Airport. Thera-Dakota was flown to the airport after being trained overseas in Holland.
With Ellis as her handler, Thera-Dakota snuffed out six odors emitted by substances including marijuana, cocaine, methamphetamine, heroine, ecstasy and silicide mushrooms. Working at both the state and federal levels in addition to the local, Thera-Dakota’s biggest catch was detecting 4.5 pounds of marijuana and cash bills worth $9,000 in a vehicle.
“She was a good detection dog,” Ellis said Friday.
As much as Thera-Dakota enjoyed her work, that came to a sudden halt one day earlier this fall after jumping out of Ellis’ patrol car.
“We came home from work one morning at about 5:30 a.m. When she jumped out of my patrol car, she yelped and started limping,” Ellis said. “I thought that was weird, as she had never done that before.”
A visit to Dr. Andrea Hennen at Lake Area Veterinary Clinic one half-hour later revealed that Thera-Dakota displaced her hip. After