Kid from Petrovka, 38
There is an opinion that a real service dog is the embodiment of strength and viciousness, a powerful dog, without fear entering into battle with an armed enemy and - naturally - coming out of it as a winner.
Even the very concept of a “service dog” is immediately associated with a courageous and fast-moving German shepherd - after all, representatives of this particular breed have long and deservedly remained favorites for specialist dog handlers of the army, FPS and the Ministry of Internal Affairs. However, formidable dogs that inspire respect by their appearance, there are also completely frivolous (at least at first glance) "colleagues" who, nevertheless, render worthy competition to serious and representative "colleagues".
Igor Meshcheryakov, the senior inspector-cynologist of the Basic Center for Service Dog Breeding of the Central Internal Affairs Directorate of Moscow, told me about one such - not at all terrible - four-legged employee of the Moscow Criminal Investigation Department. A small English cocker spaniel named Til is now "retired", lives with Igor at home and is no different from an ordinary pet and a general minion. Despite his rather solid age by dog’s standards, Til is still puppy-happy when the owner takes him for a walk, often-often wags his short tail while waiting for a bowl of food. Looking at the affectionate and funny cocker, it is very difficult to imagine that during his service in the MUR this funny kid discovered tens of kilograms of drugs, he could be said to be a full participant in many operations conducted by the criminal investigation department, he obtained evidence that became decisive in exposing dangerous criminals. Also, he fell a lot of long tiring duties on the investigation team, which the dog faithfully worked out along with the owner.
Igor brought Thiel home as a month-old puppy - his wife as a gift. She, the same avid doggiver, like Igor himself, had long wanted a cheerful and good-natured dog in the house. Little fluffy Til immediately won the sympathy of the owners. Nobody thought about any service then, they took the dog, as they say, for the soul. However, Igor soon began to notice a pronounced tendency toward search behavior in the puppy: the cocker was constantly looking for something: either his toys, or house slippers, or simply minced around the rooms, with his nose on the floor, hoping to find something interesting. Til with great pleasure played hide and seek with the owners, completely without straining, perfectly mastered the apportioning, after some time the puppy learned to find the owner's things not only in the apartment, but also on the street, while demonstrating a wonderful sharpness of intuition. The growing spaniel just loved this game. Although Igor turned training into a very interesting occupation for Thiel himself, the requirements for the student were constantly becoming more complicated. But the dog remained on top. He invariably performed all tasks and dragged the found objects to the owner, pretty wagging his tail.
Having finally convinced himself of Til’s extraordinary abilities for search work, Igor decided to take a special training course with his pupil in his service - in the center of official dog breeding - and prepare a drug search specialist from a carefree spaniel. Mastering serious dog science, Til did not lose his gentle disposition and liveliness. Having successfully passed the control tests, the dog, whose keen instinct was supplemented by the skills of a real bloodhound, proceeded to the duties of the MUR employee as the most official dog. Together with his master, Til was officially admitted to duty on Petrovka 38.
So began the service, which gradually became the life of a cheerful cheer. When I asked Igor to tell about some particularly memorable episode of their joint work, he became thoughtful: there was so much of everything, it's hard to single out something. However, the difficulties that we managed to successfully overcome through joint efforts, and all sorts of funny cases, there were plenty of them, are best remembered. Igor and baby Til solved complex tasks, complementing each other in the full sense. For example, during one of the trips, it was necessary to search the apartment, where, according to reports, a large consignment of hash was hidden, but the investigators could not find the drug cache, although they spent many hours searching. And almost resigned to the failure, they decided nevertheless to let Thiel go: what if. However, having crossed the threshold of drug addiction, the dog was clearly confused: at first the cocker spun in one place, and then languidly trotted around the rooms, randomly poking his nose into every subject. This behavior of the dog finally convinced everyone that there would be no use for the shaggy assistant, and in general, in the apartment, apparently, there were no more drugs. Only Igor, knowing perfectly well the habits of his pet, realized that Til was smelling drugs, but he could not figure out where the source of the smell was, where the cache was. Apparently the apartment is so saturated with hash that its "flavor" came from everywhere. Then the dog handler asked everyone to free the room, opened the windows wide and arranged a strong draft. After ten minutes of intensive airing, Til again received the command "seek." This time the dog confidently headed for the heating battery, which, as it soon became clear, was filled to the top with a narcotic potion.
“The dog handler’s task is to help the dog work out as efficiently as possible and at the lowest possible cost,” says Igor Meshcheryakov. - To do this, it is necessary to facilitate her work as much as possible: eliminate odors, remove other distracting factors. You need to understand what is stopping the dog, to understand, if you want, what it tells you. After all, Til told me then that drugs were somewhere nearby - and in large quantities. Indeed, from one matchbox there wasn’t such an intensity of a foolish smell. The dog worked honestly. Well, the rest is up to the dog handler. In general, in our profession, the ability to understand a dog decides a lot. By the way, Til, when required, could "designate" a suitcase or a bag of drugs so that no one else had a clue that the dog was working - just some mongrel running and wagging its tail.
In the practice of the senior inspector-cynologist Meshcheryakov and the official search dog Til there were times when it was necessary to work inconspicuously. On the forecourt, amid a huge crowd of passengers, lots of suitcases and bales, a thin guy (Igor, like his four-legged partner, is no different in heroic build) with a small shaggy cocker was not striking anyone: there were enough eccentrics with dogs at the stations. You never know - and this one decided to go out of town, relax in nature with his watchdog. The burdock cocker is slowly mincing after the owner, curiously sniffing the luggage that comes along the way. And after some time, investigators detained a group of drug dealers who got off the train with a good dozen kilograms of opium, carefully packed in tourist backpacks.
Already while in the pre-trial detention center, the visiting drug dealers were racking their brains, who brought the criminal investigation into them. It could not have crossed their minds that they were actually hidden behind bars by a small, doggy dog, completely unlike a real service dog.
We are on the verge of scientific achievements capable of calling into question the very ideology of prohibitionism in the field of control over the circulation of drugs and psychotropic substances.
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