Shelter Dogs Turned Crime Fighters with NY PolicePublished February 27, 2012
He has helped to locate six missing bodies and dozens of drug stashes across multiple states since his involvement in the New York State Police force. He is Wheeler—a German Shepherd working alongside his partner, New York State Trooper Michael Boburka, as a skilled narcotics and cadaver detection dog.
Wheeler has not always been a dog detective, however.
In 2003, Wheeler was found wondering the streets of Brooklyn, and ultimately found himself in the city shelter, the New York Daily News reports. Malnourished and ailing, Wheeler was likely to be put down.
That is when Liz Keller of the Glen Wild Animal Rescue, came to Wheeler’s aid, taking him back with her to the upstate New York rescue facility. It was there where Keller spotted Wheeler’s inherent qualities of a superior police dog.
After completing an intense 20-week training course with the New York State Police canine division, Wheeler joined the ranks of his canine comrades on the force.
Wheeler’s roots as a shelter dog are hardly unique amongst the canine force, however. In fact, about 24 of the 73 dogs on the canine unit are former rescues. Since 1975, most of the dogs (mostly German Shepherds) in the unit have been donated either by shelters or by breeders from around the northeast.
Wheeler is also not the first dog to be donated from the Glen Wild Animal Rescue, Keller explains. Last year, after a Facebook outcry, Keller saved a Pit Bull from a city shelter after a video of him being abused surfaced.
Currently, Keller is training a new rescue, Shayla, who she hopes will follow in Wheeler’s successful paw prints.
To donate to Keller’s cause with the Glen Wild Animal Rescue, visit their website or send donations to Glen Wild Rescue, P.O. Box 75, South Kortright, N.Y. 13842.
Are you inspired by Keller’s efforts and Wheeler’s success as a police dog? Share your thoughts in a comment below.