Impulse control. Some people have it more than others and let me tell you, some dogs have it more than others. Case in point: K-9 Police Dogs.
These dogs and officer handlers are so well trained (and they train regularly), that with a command, the dog can chase a bad guy, bring him down and then release his grip as if he was on a switch. Kenny is one of those dogs and we that live in Milwaukee are lucky to have 4 K-9/Police Officer teams. Their squads are outfitted with special features in the back seat to accommodate the dog and give them a safe traveling space. Throw in some heavy duty air conditioning to keep the dogs cool in our hot/humid summers and you can quickly see that these expensive dogs are well cared for.
Officer Marshall agreed to work with me on my Dogs and Their Women book project and we finally met up this week, down on the Lakefront. I’d been around Kenny before in a training exercise but I moved around him slowly, getting the lights into position, while Officer Marshall played ‘fetch the tennis ball’ with him. I’d previously visualized this image to be made with color splashing up into the sky/clouds, but the weather didn’t cooperate. So a more ominous sky was present that I think added to the image. Just goes to show that sometimes we get something better than we visualizes!
I used the ball to get his attention, but to get his tongue in his mouth, I needed to employ some coonhound barking that my coonhound, Ellie, has taught me over the years. Wooah – when Kenny barks at you, he bares his teeth and rapidly lets you know that’s he’s ‘on duty.’ But here’s where the impulse control comes in – he doesn’t move without an order! It’s a thing of beauty to see and experience just how tight the two of them work together.
Kenny’s training includes searching for drugs, finding ‘bad guys,’ and locating guns that have been dropped or hidden. But what makes him not only a K-9 partner to Officer Marshall but also a member of the family, is that he knows when it’s time to work and time to play. As I was packing up my gear, I noted Kenny laying on the ground with the ubiquitous green tennis ball between his front paws. As I made a few images of him in that position, I wondered what might happen if I tried to take that ball away from him, like I might do with one of my dogs. On second thought, I let him keep it.