To say that I love my job would be an understatement! Aside from getting to make stuff up for a living, I also have the opportunity to do character research out in the real world sometimes.
Today was one of those times.
Last summer, I was at one of Westchester County’s parks with my twins and we had the chance to see some really cool demonstrations by K-9 officers and the bomb squad. You want to talk about psyched? My twins were loving it…but so was I! Officer Tierney was there with his partner, Saratoga. I approached him about doing research with them for my upcoming McGuire Brothers series. Luckily, he didn’t think I was crazy and agreed to let me hang around one day to get the 411.
As you may know, The McGuire Brothers features men in uniform. My research today was for the 2nd book in the series, THE BEST NEVER REST. The hero, Ronan McGuire, is a K9 Officer in NYC and his partner is a bloodhound named, Bowser. I actually decided on having that character be a bloodhound after meeting Saratoga this past summer.
Today was the big day! Officer Tierney and Saratoga hosted me for a visit. They even did a scent-tracking exercise with Saratoga. It was really neat but I’m glad I didn’t wear heels!
Using Sgt. Langford’s keys a scent article, she followed his trail and found him. She only wears the harness when she’s working and with the command of “find it”…she was off and running!
Here’s a video of her game of “hide & seek”.
Officer Tierney was kind enough to introduce me to the other members of the K9 unit, including Officer Cucinell and his retired partner, Alfred. Alfred was a bomb sniffing dog and sweet as can be. He was originally training to work with the blind but due to his “food aggressive” nature, he was not suitable for that program. BUT that trait is perfect for K9 dogs because it makes them highly trainable. So off to the K9 unit he went.
When Saratoga is in between jobs, she hangs out in her squad car. The backseat is set up like a giant dog crate. She’s got air conditioning, treats, blankets, the works. For all I know, she has HBO back there too!
These dogs and their handlers train extensively before going into the field. They have to trust each other implicitly. The initial training is as long as four months and they participate in two brush-up trainings each month. These officers, two legged and four legged, are devoted to each other and it’s clear that Saratoga is a part of the Tierney family. In fact, when she retires in a few years, she’ll spend the rest of her days with them.
Thanks again to Officer Tierney, Sgt. Langford, Officer Cucinella, Captain Stasaittis, and the whole gang for helping me with the nitty gritty details that will bring Ronan McGuire to life. After meeting all of these fine officers, I’m certain that Ronan’s book is aptly titled and I’ll be sure they all get copies of THE BEST NEVER REST.