In praise of K-9 protectors

Published 7:38 pm Sunday, November 2, 2014

For those of you who thought the world was going to the dogs (and for some of you maybe it has!), over the past 10 days or so four of our furry four-legged friends – those canines that we charge with our security and safety – have certainly earned their keep.

Locally, I’ll begin with a big salute to Ahoskie Police Department K-9 Division. Sgt. Kellett and Officer Whitby and their German Shepards, Rico and Nero, assisted on a couple of law enforcement investigations over the past 10 days.  At some point in the execution of their duties, both canines earned praise from the top-brass police chiefs. That praise was very well deserved for those four-legged protectors of law and order here in the Roanoke-Chowan area.

And then there was Jordan and Hurricane.

They’re the two members of the Secret Service K-9 unit that accomplished something that humans in that agency have been hard-pressed to do recently: they actually performed their duties flawlessly and, at least for one day, lifted the morale of the U.S. Secret Service that’s been rocked by a series of embarrassing incidents.

What the dogs, both Belgian Malinois, distant kin of German Shepherds, did a couple of Wednesdays ago was stop a man who had managed to scale the fence and jump over, landing on the grounds at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue (aka The White House) in Washington, DC.

These are dogs that can run 25 miles per hour top speed and have a bite that applies hundreds of pounds of pressure per square inch.

In the act of doing what they’re probably just paid in Alpo and Beggin’ Strips to do, the dogs knocked the man to the ground and bit him. Then as he tried to fend the dogs off, officers – the two-legged kind – moved in and arrested him.

Jordan took a kick to his snout. Hurricane was slammed to the ground and repeatedly punched. Both were rushed to a veterinarian for treatment.

Thankfully, the vet determined that the dogs had sustained only minor injuries.

Authorities went on to charge the fence jumper with several counts in connection with the incident, and maybe as a salute to the dogs the federal authorities also filed felony charges of assaulting two law enforcement officers; in this case, Jordan and Hurricane.

To date, no Presidential Medals of Courage have been given. The dogs just received a day off from work, and probably some extra Meaty-Bones and a new squeaky toy as a reward.

And, in typical “Secret” Service fashion, the two-legged officers didn’t make Jordan, Hurricane, or their handlers for that matter, immediately available to the media.

But by the afternoon, apparently realizing what a public relations windfall that had fallen in their laps, the Secret Service at least posted pictures on Twitter of the dogs sitting with their tongues wagging, and posing between the U.S. and Secret Service flags.

So the next time you look down and smile at the wagging tail of your protector, think for a moment who you are actually looking up to.

Gene Motley is a Staff Writer for Roanoke-Chowan Publications. He can be contacted at or 252-332-7211.