When Brad Croft was introduced to a group of abandoned shelter dogs in Kirby, Texas, a puppy, in particular, caught his attention.
Kiah was in his little corner, a sheepish pitbull, but apparently strong, recovering from a brutal wound to the skull. He was told that the abused dog had been hit in the head with a hammer shortly before he arrived at the shelter.
“From what I saw, I just could not believe she had survived, but she did,” Croft said.
It was really miraculous, said Croft, the dog did not seem to have a grudge.
That’s when Croft, director of operations at UniversalK9 – an organization that trains dogs, as well as police and SWAT teams, decided to bring the bitch back to San Antonio to see if she could be a police dog.
At first, Kiah was difficult to train. She did not understand what she was supposed to do. But soon, Croft understood: she was learning fast.
At the end of an eight-week training period, the “talented” dog was ready to work.
“If we had to have some sort of competition, she would work [with other dogs] every day of the week,” said a confident Croft. “This dog is crazy.”
The Poughkeepsie Police Department contacted Croft in the hope of finding the perfect K9 officer. Fortunately for them, they found Kiah.
Today, nearly two years later, Kiah works alongside her partner, agent Justin Bruzgul, as a narcotics and missing person detector dog.
The 85-pound dog will receive the ASPCA Public Service Award in New York on Thursday as the first police dog in the state of New York.
“These awards recognize not only the heroism of animals, individuals, and organizations but also the incredible connection between humans and their animals,” said ASPCA President and CEO… Matt Bershadker. “This link between humans and pets is so strong that when you pledge to help one, you definitely help the other”
Since the rescue of Kiah, Croft, in partnership with the Animal Farm Foundation, a non-profit society that helps save and relocate animals, has helped put 20 pit bulls into the country’s police service.
“They’re just good, good dogs.” The Achilles’ heel is a stigma, “said Croft, citing the misconception that pit bulls are by nature an aggressive and violent breed.
Croft shows Kaih as a perfect example.
“She is so friendly that she would not hurt a fly,” he said.