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A day with the K9 dogs

In support of the Okanagan Humane Society and HugABull, the Vernon K9 unit offered up a day with the dogs last fall during an  auction.

On Tuesday in Vernon, the winner redeemed her prize.

“So the winning bidder gets to come out with us and see what we as police dog handlers do for training of the dogs,” explained Constable Marc Jones.

Salmon Arm resident Sherri Funfer got to spend the day with the entire North Okanagan K9 team.

“It was a wonderful surprise at Christmas because my brother and sister-in-law went to the HugABull fundraiser and they saw this ride-a-long auction prize. And they knew I loved German Shepherds and loved dogs and knew I would have an amazing time,” smiled Funfer.

She was able to watch the dogs track, enjoy a 'take down,' and other aspects of their daily lives.

Funfer joked that the animals were a little bit more 'dog' than she was used to at home.

“My first dog when I was little was a German Shepherd so I have always loved them but we have a little Jack Russel, Ruby, so it is a little different,” she laughs. “A little 14-pounder versus these guys.”

By the end of the day, Funfer had really enjoyed getting to know the hard working pups.

“What amazing dogs, they are just wonderful, and so friendly too,” she added. “I think there are a lot of misconceptions about police dogs, but they are amazing dogs and like big puppies.”

That point was supported by Constable Marc Jones who says although you should always be wary around a working police-dog, they are socialized around humans and are friendly -- if you're not the bad guy.

“We are not going to say that you should not be cautious around a police dog but we bring them to school talks, (and) I let kids pet my police dog. But it is always done when everything is ok. For the most part they are extremely friendly,” said Jones.

Funfer says the entire day will be a special experience for her.

“It is a truly wonderful opportunity so I hope more people get the opportunity to do it in the future,” said Funfer. “I can really imagine more people would want to go to the fundraiser and get the opportunity to bid on this. Any dog lover would really love this.”

Constable Marc Jones says at the end of the day Funfer will have had a real all-dog experience.

“We are going to take her out and show her all the different profiles that the dogs will work on. One of them will be tracking, then criminal apprehension which will involve some dog biting, drug searching and some different searching profiles,” explained Jones.

When asked if Sherri Funfer would be wearing the padded suit for the dogs to take down, Constable Jones said they wouldn't put her through it. He claims they have many young tough-as-nails officers excited to wear the suit and train with the dogs.

“We won't put her through that,” laughed Jones. “The dog bites are pretty powerful when they do bite down with the pressure that comes down. That's why we have all these nice young men and women officers here today who want to be dog handlers themselves one day. They love it, they volunteer to get in there and work with the police dogs.”

Funfer was also able to see two new puppy additions to the police force and watch some of the training they go through.

For more information on the Okanagan Humane Society click here or for HugABull click here.

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