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Labrador News: Pete The Lab Sniffs Out bombs And Guns In Indianapolis After 3 Tours In Afghanistan

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Pete the Lab now sniffs out bombs and guns in Indianapolis after 3 tours in Afghanistan
AP Photo/The Indianapolis Star, Diana Penner

By DIANA PENNER  The Indianapolis Star

Pete’s career as an explosives and firearms sniffer started out with the U.S. Marine Corps — in Afghanistan.

But after three tours as one of the few and the proud K9s in the corps, Pete came to Indianapolis five months ago to join the Marion County Sheriff’s Office and handler Cpl. Jeremiah Pool on duty at the City-County Building.

Every day, they sweep courtrooms and offices for bombs, guns and ammunition that shouldn’t be there.

Pete, a 5-year-old black Labrador retriever originally from Yuma, California, spent about nine months at a time in Afghanistan during his tours of duty.

That’s about all Pool knows about Pete’s experiences there. Military rules apparently prohibit release of details of Pete’s wartime experiences, or even the name of his former handler, Pool said. He wishes he could learn that much, at least, to let the Marine know how Pete is doing now and maybe asking for a photo of the playful pup on military duty.

Pete’s transition to civilian work was seamless, Pool said. A lifelong dog lover who already had two miniature Schnauzers as pets, Pool is the one who had to be trained to work with a law enforcement K9. The only adjustment Pete had to make was to occasionally work on a leash as he previously worked exclusively off-lead, Pool said. But it wasn’t a problem.

“He didn’t care,” Poole told The Indianapolis Star

The two bonded instantly, and Pete never leaves his side, Pool said. The Schnauzers have adapted fine, too.

When Pool gives the command for Pete to go to work, he’ll search for explosives, guns and bullets that are where they shouldn’t be. So he doesn’t alert to Pool’s weapon or the guns of other officers. On a training exercise, Pool said, he took Pete to the basement parking area of the City-County Building, where police and other law enforcement vehicles would be expected to hold weapons. But Pete ignored those and quickly homed in on a single bullet left out in the open, Pool said.

Pete alerts by assuming a down position. His reward: a hard rubber dog toy.

That’s play for him, and he likes other kinds of play, too. After this weekend snowstorm, Pool took behind to the courtyard behind the City-County Building and a colleague threw snowballs into a stretch of snow. Pete never tired of the game of finding the disappearing ball, often “alerting” to the spot where it disappeared.

Pete also is a great ambassador for law enforcement because he’s so friendly and approachable.

“Kids love him. Judges love him,” Pool said.

Although based at the building, Pete also sometimes goes out with officers serving warrants at locations where it’s suspected weapons might be present, Pool said.

Watch this UK bomb-sniffing Lab receive his medal of honor for bravery.