Meet 6 Dogs With Jobs in the DC Area | NBC4 Washington
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FINDING FOREVER HOMES ACROSS THE COUNTRY

Meet 6 Dogs With Jobs in the DC Area

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Courtesy of Shelley Castle Photography
    Officer Steve Escobar and his police K-9, Zara

    Dogs in the D.C. area interrupt war veterans' nightmares, boost up people with limited mobility when they are about to fall, and help police track suspects and detect explosives.

    News4 loves dogs with jobs. The people the dogs serve told us they are endlessly impressed by the animals' devotion and ability to learn.

    A 3-year-old collie named Beam Me Up, Mr. Scott -- or Scotty, for short -- helps Maryland real estate agent Debbie Taylor cope with vertigo and mobility issues.

    Scotty opens doors, turns lights on and off, fetches objects, pulls clothes out of the dryer and prevents Taylor from falling.

    "If I'm walking and I start to fall, he leans against me and catches me. It amazes me that he knows," she said. "I wouldn't have a life without him. I would be living, but I wouldn't have a life."

    Beam Me Up, Mr. Scott, or Scotty, for short
    Photo credit: NBC Washington

    Taylor, 65, spoke Wednesday at a service dog training session at Fidos for Freedom. The nonprofit based in Laurel, Maryland, has trained service and therapy dogs for nearly 30 years.

    Here are the heartwarming stories of five more dogs with jobs:

    Meet Zara, a Police Dog Who Detects Explosives
    Zara is one of seven highly trained dogs in the Alexandria, Virginia, police department's K-9 Unit. The 5-year-old Belgian Malinois works on patrol with Officer Steve Escobar and is trained to detect explosives.

    The dogs in her unit help recover evidence, track suspects and sniff bombs.

    "They do things a human couldn't. Their ability to detect things eclipses our own, Deputy Chief Chris Wemple III said.

    Police K-9 Zara navigates the Alexandria Police Department's training course for dogs
    Photo credit: Courtesy of Shelley Castle Photography

    He spoke as six officer-and-dog pairs in the K-9 Unit had their photos taken outside the station on a blazing hot afternoon earlier this month.

    Sgt. Cindy Scott has worked with the dogs for the past seven years and supervised the unit for four years. The police canines seem to like to be useful, she said.

    "All they want to do is please us. They prance. They're like, 'I did good. I'm so proud,'" Scott said.

    Part of the Alexandria Police Department's K-9 Unit
    Photo credit: NBC Washington

    The dogs work hard and are good at relaxing, too, she said.

    "When they're at home, they're the biggest couch potatoes you could find," she said. "It’s amazing how they’re able to turn the switch off."

    Meet Chauncey, a Service Dog Who Works With a Military Veteran
    Chauncey is the service dog of an Army veteran who served in Iraq.

    Brian McCrady's face lights up when he talks about his year-old English Labrador.

    "I'm out of my shell again. I'm out in the world again," the 35-year-old said.

    Chauncey stands alongside his owner
    Photo credit: NBC Washington

    Chauncey helps McCrady handle post-traumatic stress disorder and a back injury, he said. He credits the dog with helping him lose 50 pounds and making him feel safer. Chauncey wakes him up if he's having a nightmare and is trained to provide deep pressure therapy, laying his weight on McCrady to soothe him.

    "We just call it snuggles," McCrady said at Fidos for Freedom as the big dog climbed into his lap. "We all benefit from hugs, right?"

    Chauncey climbs into Brian McCrady's lap
    Photo credit: NBC Washington

    His service dog also is trained to lay at McCrady's feet to create additional personal space.

    "We've taught him some 'blocking,' so he can create a barrier for me in a non-aggressive way," McCrady said.

    Meet Wrigley and Roscoe, Service and Therapy Dogs in Training
    As Wrigley and Roscoe turned 8 months old on Wednesday, they were learning to fetch objects of various textures.

    "It's all about getting them comfortable with all sorts of things," veterinarian and longtime Fidos for Freedom volunteer Christy Shoup said.

    Wrigley and Roscoe fight over a plastic bat
    Photo credit: NBC Washington

    Wrigley, an empress Labrador adopted from a breeder in Illinois, is living with her.

    If the playful puppies progress in their training, they will continue for two-and-a-half years and eventually be paired with a Fidos for Freedom client.

    Wrigley and Roscoe smile for the camera
    Photo credit: NBC Washington

    Meet Ruby, a Service Dog Who Helps With Mobility Issues
    Ruby can take off her owner Ann Dunn's shoes and socks, help her dress herself and drag a walker over to her. Dunn has lived with the 8-year-old Labrador for six years.

    Ruby pulled a walker over to Ann Dunn on command
    Photo credit: NBC Washington

    The dog sits quietly at her feet as she speaks. When Dunn moves to get up, Ruby stands alongside her so Dunn can brace herself on her back.

    More than 53,000 pets were adopted through the 2016 Clear the Shelters campaign, a nationwide push to place deserving animals in forever homes. Join the conversation on social media using #ClearTheShelters.