Wallingford, CT, August 7, 2013…….. About 100 Masonicare residents, day care children and visitors were treated to an amazing program this morning on the front lawn of Masonicare Health Center in Wallingford. Officers Scott Bloom and Matt Haynes of the West Haven Police Department demonstrated the technical prowess, superb obedience training and astounding intelligence their K-9 partners bring to help protect the citizens of Connecticut. Officers Bloom and Haynes reviewed the process for training and selecting this elite group of dogs. The rapt audience met German Shepherds “Tex,” age 7 and partner of Officer Haynes, and “Hank,” age 3 and partner of Officer Bloom. A Wallingford resident, Bloom has been a certified K-9 trainer for 10 years, and explained that Hank has lived with him and his family since he was four months old.
The program was the brainchild of Patricia Kalinauskas, a Masonicare employee, whose Wallingford-based chapter of Order of the Eastern Star sponsored the event. “We wanted to contribute to the good work of these often-unrecognized dogs and to sponsor a different kind of program for the Masonicare residents,” Ms. Kalinauskas explained.
Hank and Tex showed their ability to follow commands including jumping in and out of their police cruiser, how to pursue a suspect (and when to stop), how to “secure” a suspect (one bite on the arm – role-played very effectively by Public Service Officer Steve Nustakos) and how to trace a scent. Officer Haynes told his listeners how one of his prior dogs was able to trace a missing person from Milford to New Haven.
Noreen Schmidt, Recreation Therapy coordinator at the Health Center, said, “Our residents loved the program. The officers answered numerous questions . . . and Hank and Tex received many pats and much applause from everyone!”
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