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Wet Noodle Posse | Blog

Monday, August 24, 2009

Canines with Careers—Panzer, Police Service Dog

by Lee McKenzie

I doubt very much you’ll ever find a human who’s as dedicated to his job or his partner as Police Service Dog Panzer is. Panzer is a three-year-old German shepherd general duty dog who is currently being trained for a speciality in detecting drugs. What most impressed me were his boundless energy and his unwavering devotion to his handler, Sgt. Glen MacKenzie of the Saanich Police Department.

Panzer’s Stats
Breed: German shepherd
Age (in human years): 3
Weight: 70 pounds
Food: 4 cups of kibble mixed with water, once a day
Treats: no treats
Favorite Toy: ball on a rope (see photos)
Favorite Activity: tracking bad guys; chasing the spray from a garden hose
One Word That Best Describes Panzer: dedicated

The Canine Unit with this police department has four teams of dogs and handlers. The dogs and humans are carefully matched because the bond between the two is so critical to the work they do, and the teams are trained on site. The department has an impressive minimal force program—of 87 canine arrests last year, there were only three bites.

Panzer has been on the job since he was 18 months old. I was a little disappointed to learn that he doesn’t have his own ID badge—I really think he should, don’t you?—but he does have a bulletproof jacket, a harness with a 30-foot lead, and a tactical harness for being lowered from a helicopter. I didn’t get to see a helicopter demonstration, but you can bet I’d like to.

Panzer is very sociable, enjoys being around people, and loves to play. I thoroughly enjoyed meeting him and while he happily tolerated me, he really only has eyes for his handler. It was immediately clear to me that this dog will do anything for Sgt. MacKenzie, and that feeling is mutual.

To stay in shape, Panzer and his handler run six to eight miles every other day. Panzer’s favourite toy is a yellow ball on a rope. You can see him here with the ball resting on his snout. As much as he wants to play, he won’t grab the ball until he’s given the command, “break.” Then a vigorous game of tug-of-war ensues, or Glen throws the ball and Panzer races after it.

Panzer even has his own collector card. How cool is that?

After seeing this dog’s incredible strength, speed and dedication to the job, I can say one thing for sure—I’m very glad he and I are on the same side of the law!

To meet more canines with careers, please join me and guide dog Kimo at The Writer Side of Life, and me and office dog Tipper with the Harlequin American Romance Authors.

Until next time,

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At 6:39 AM, Blogger Mo H said...

That collector's card is very cool! Thanks for giving us the low down on Panzer.

At 8:00 AM, Blogger Terry Odell said...

Great post. I volunteered with a major DUI checkpoint and had a chance to chat with one of the narcotics deputies about what he and his dog do. It's fascinating.

At 9:49 AM, Blogger Lee McKenzie said...

ITA, Mo! Maybe we should do collector's cards for the Posse ;)

At 9:53 AM, Blogger Lee McKenzie said...

I'm amazed by what all dogs, and particularly police dogs are able to do. They possess a combination of intelligence and devotion that make them very special.

At 10:51 AM, Blogger Judy said...

Thanks, Lee, for sharing this post. Every time I read or hear about the K-9 units I'm once again impressed and grateful for the work they do.

At 11:27 AM, Blogger Delle Jacobs said...

He's beautiful! He reminds me of a silver-colored police dog I met once at a charity function. I was sitting at a table talking with friends when I felt a familiar nuzzling of my hand, and without thinking, I started petting. Then I realized I hadn't had a dog in several years, and I wasn't in a usual dog place. I turned and there he was: Dakota.

His handler apologized and said Dakota hadn't ever done that before. But I wasn't really surprised because it was obvious the dog realized I was a person in need of a good hand-nuzzling. Either that or the scent of cat lngered on my clothes.

At 12:00 PM, Blogger Lee McKenzie said...

I'm with you, Judy. In addition to law enforcement, these dogs can also be used for things like search and rescue. I live in the Pacific Northwest, which is prone to earthquakes. If there's ever a major one that knocks down buildings, dogs like Panzer will be help to find survivors.

At 12:02 PM, Blogger Lee McKenzie said...

Delle, that's such a cool story! I love that animals can be so perceptive about the needs of humans, even humans they don't know.

At 1:51 PM, Blogger Louisa Cornell said...


What a gorgeous dog! I am in awe of these K-9 officers and all of the things they can do. Our small town and rural county share three teams of K-9 officers. I remember about a year ago, a retired K-9 dog - Bruno, a Belgian Malinois with an impressive list of drug busts to his credit, passed away from bone cancer. He'd spent his golden years as his handler's family pet. They had a big civic funeral for him and I was impressed with the turnout of officers from all over the state. It was very moving to see how appreciated Bruno's work and dedication was.

At 4:09 PM, Blogger Lee McKenzie said...

Louisa, this handler, Sgt. Glen MacKenzie (no relation to me, BTW :) has worked with dogs for almost twenty years. He and one of his previous dogs, Ace, even made the cover of Reader’s Digest. If you have time to read it, it’s a great story!

When dogs retire from this police department, they also stay with their handlers. After all that time spent working together, I'm sure the officers would never be able to part with their canine partners.

At 4:15 PM, Blogger Terry McLaughlin said...

Wow, Lee, what a terrific post! Thanks for sharing all the info and photos :-).

At 5:47 PM, Blogger Lee McKenzie said...

You're welcome, Terry! I had a lot of fun writing these articles.

At 5:51 PM, Blogger Theresa Ragan said...

Lee, what a great post! Panzer is so cute and dedicated. I love that collector's card.

Great pics. Thanks for sharing!

At 5:54 PM, Blogger Lee McKenzie said...

Thanks, Theresa! Glad you enjoyed it!

At 6:20 AM, Blogger Nathaniel said...


The police dog handlers have a demanding role and work with the dogs on a daily basis to ensure they are training to the highest level possible to help solve crime. Any handler must be prepared to exercise and care for the dog both on and off duty. If you decide to be a police officer for dog handling you will undergo different tests. There will be no need for a formal education and no minimum or maximum height will be required.

At 9:49 AM, Blogger Lee McKenzie said...

Hi, Nathaniel. Thanks so much for dropping by the blog! The role of a canine officer is very demanding, but also extremely rewarding, don't you think?


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