When Scituate locals heard about the death of the Scituate police dog, Felix, in August, they knew they had to step up.
As such, it isn’t surprising that, merely a few months after Felix’s death, Scituate police are already training their new dog, purchased entirely with donated money.
It was all private donations, McLaughlin said.
Between an article written for Boston.com, as well as an article in the Scituate Mariner about the plight, "money just started to flow in and we reached our goal,” said K9 Officer Brian McLaughlin.
Although there is funding within the budget for the K9 department, McLaughlin said in an earlier interview that that money doesn’t cover a new $6700 dog or all the necessary training supplies a new dog would warrant.
To compensate, the fundraising effort started to pick up in December, with local media coverage and requests on the Scituate K9 program’s Facebook page urging locals to contribute to the cause.
By Dec. 10, $3500 was raised, and by Dec. 31, all $6700 had been funded for the new pup.
All in all, the local help was paramount.
“I was very grateful,” McLaughlin said.
Funding is still being accepted to purchase some necessary supplies, such as new leashes, tracking harnesses, and food, and people are still encouraged to contribute.
In the meantime, the new dog, Tango, a 16-month old German Shepherd from the Czech Republic, will begin training in both patrol school as well as narcotics detection for the next seven months.
Until the dog learns the ropes of the trade, for now Tango is just living the life of a puppy.
“He’s just being a dog right now - running around and acting crazy. He’s shedding everywhere. Probably because of this warm weather we had. He’s just acting like a dog, getting acclimated to family lifestyle, myself, the cruiser, we give him a ride so he can get used to the back and where his kennel is,” McLaughlin said. “It’s all part of the training process, driving around, responding to calls, keeping his balance in the vehicle, [getting to know] the sounds, the lights.”
According to the Scituate Police K9 page, Tango received his first vet visit on Saturday at the Driftway Animal Hospital.
The 68-pound pup most likely won’t get any bigger, though in a few months he will transform less into a household pet, and more into an operational part of the town.
In the interim, Scituate will continue to use mutual aid from surrounding towns and their canine departments to service calls and handle problems in the area.
“The beauty of it is we have great resources surrounding is, and they can help us till we’re up and going,” McLaughlin said. “It’s a great relationship we’ve established and now especially with the canine.”
Especially helpful will be Hull’s canine program. Hull received their second canine in September, and the dog is now active on the squad.
“We’re fortunate that Hull is operational,” McLaughlin said. “They have been good about mutual aid requests.”
As much as the Police Department is looking toward the future with Tango, Felix has not been forgotten.
McLaughlin hopes that within the next month, the Department will be able to host some kind of memorial for the departed dog, which had to be put down in August.
“We’re going to have his trainers there and officers that we have worked with, different canine officers will be there to pay tribute to his successful career,” McLaughlin said.
To learn more about Scituate’s canine, follow them on Facebook.