It turns that police dogs are just normal dogs – with jobs! A missing Labrador police dog was found – asking for a game of fetch!
Smoke, a 9-year-old Labrador Retriever, works for the Mississippi Highway Patrol as an explosive ordnance detection dog. He lives with his partner, Cpl. Andrew Sisk, on County Road 530 in Lee County in northeast Mississippi.
While Sisk was cleaning the Lab’s kennel on Sunday morning, Smoke went on an adventure of his own –setting off a dog hunt by Sisk’s family, friends, and coworkers throughout the area for the next few days.
“The first night I knew he was close, we just couldn’t find him. We searched all day and into the night, and I was worried,” Sisk said.
Police officials hoped Smoke had only gone for a swim, but he wasn’t at any of the nearby lakes. The Labrador kept everyone worried until Wednesday around 2:30 a.m.
“He was in the front yard of a neighbor’s house with a tennis ball in his mouth, wagging his tail,” said K9 Unit Commander M/Sgt. Elmo Townsend. “The neighbor was going to work and when he walked out his front door, there’s Smoke.”
A quarter of a mile from Sisk’s home, a man found him looking for a game of fetch.
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“I was at home, it was 230 a.m. and I was asleep. I got a call from my neighbor, JT Landers, and the first thing I said was, ‘What’s wrong?'” Sisk said. “He said, ‘I found your dog, I put him up in the kennel. You can come get him in the morning,’ and I said, ‘No, I’ll be there in just a minute and I’ll pick him up.'”
Smoke and Sisk have only been a team for about a month but Sisk was distraught when he couldn’t find his partner, Townsend said.
“It’s a big relief to have him home, it’s like he can finally relax,” Townsend said. “He’s been beside himself ever since the dog disappeared, it’s like the weight of the world is off his shoulders now.”
A K9 handler and police dog are not just workmates, they are partners.
“It’s something only a person that’s ever bonded with a dog and been in a situation like that could ever understand,” Townsend said. “A military k9 handler will know what it feels like too, but it’s kinda hard to describe what the feeling is like when you lose your K9 partner.”
Sisk said he and Smoke have already developed a bond that a lot of people don’t have with their coworkers.
“He’s my partner,” Sisk said. “He’s always happy and always glad to see me, and I’m always glad to see him.”
Smoke is growing old and is nearing retirement time, Townsend said, but the police department has yet to raise the funds to purchase another bomb dog. Since the Labrador is the only explosive ordinance detection dog in the area, his schedule can get pretty busy.
“He’s still got a lot of life left in him, in human adult years he’s in his 50s or 60s. He’s in good health, we’ve got another year or so with him,” he said.