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Animal Science Class Meets Wendell

Juniors Avery Bonifati and Haley Pileski pet Wendell, being held by Officer Crista Haywood, as part of their study of the companion animal industry.

Members of Mr. Ben Shumate’s Animal Science 2 class had the opportunity recently to meet Wendell, a five year old English black lab that belongs to and works for the Union County Sheriff’s Department. Officer Crista Haywood brought Wendell to visit and explained to the class, “We are a canine team.” Wendell is one of seven canines used in the Union County Sheriff’s Department.

Deputy Haywood went on to explain, “When we got him, he couldn’t do anything. He was what we call a ‘green dog’.” She told the class how Wendell came to them as a puppy from Maine. He was trained using a ball and a pop box. When Wendell performed well, his reward was to get the ball. After training he had pass certification requiring 15 out of 16 points. “Wendell passed with a 16 every time,” Haywood said. Wendell is certified in two areas: article searches and narcotics - including heroin, ecstasy, crystal meth, cocaine, and marijuana.

Haywood demonstrated Wendell’s ability to sniff out and locate a set of lost keys as well as a marijuana sample both outside and inside the classroom. When he locates the object, Wendell lies down beside it. CHS Resource Officer Mckensie Lorenz said, “To him, this is just a game. He gets to play!” Haywood told the class that Wendell generally works 7:30 to 4, but is on call 24 hours a day. He can differentiate smells and once found a knife used in a crime. Haywood and Wendell make regular visits to all UCPS schools.

“I was interested to learn that it’s not her dog – it’s the Sheriff’s,” said senior Andrew Sileo. “It was also cool to learn how they train him - they put a ball in a spring mechanism, and when he smells a certain smell, he gets the ball.”

Senior Raquel Petrizzo said, “I found it interesting that the dog generally liked his job. His tail was wagging the whole time – he was having so much fun!”

Shumate arranged the visit as part of a unit on companion animal industry. He said, “Our class has talked about seeing eye dogs, police dogs, and how dogs can be used for therapy purposes for the disabled and the elderly.”

Written by: Paula White
Posted: Oct 02, 2012 by Paula White

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