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Old 08-02-2009, 04:04 AM   #1

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World Police and Fire Games canine competitors

Border guard and her black lab ready to respond

In the simmering heat, officer Kendy Michaloski and her canine partner, a big, bounding black Lab named Timber, scoot around cars that have been pulled over at the Peace Arch border.
Timber is a bundle of energy, but she pauses here and there to sniff and scratch. She is the lookout for illegal narcotics and firearms.
The two make a powerful pair, moving quickly up and down a line of cars, with Timber being set loose inside one of them where she explores every nook and cranny. They are among the guardians in the last line of defence for contraband entering the country.
"Good dog," Michaloski praises with glowing eyes and allows Timber to grip her favourite toy called a kong. The two obviously adore each other.
They have been working as a team for only one year, making them rookies in the whole business of using dogs to hunt out criminal elements.
That is the key reason Michaloski has signed them up to compete in the World Police and Fire Games that kick off with a splashy ceremony at Swangard Stadium Friday night.
"Right now, I am the new kid on the block," said Michaloski in an interview at the border. "It's all about learning from the senior handlers."
She admits that it would be pretty cool, however, if she and Timber won in the narcotics detection competition. She is already thinking of how she would reward her playful but dogged companion who lives with her.
"In this heat, I have been freezing some dog bones inside ice cubes and she really likes that, so I might have to do her up some especially for that."
And then, of course, there would be a big swim. Timber loves to swim. Oh, and probably a big romp in the park with some of those orange hockey balls that are part of the team's off-duty repertoire.
When the possibility of competing in the games came up, she and Timber leaped at it. "You just hope that a competition comes up some time in your career because they are few and far between." Add to that the fact that Michaloski, who is 33, has always been a competitive person.
As part of the games, she and Timber will have to do a building search, a luggage search, a vehicle search and some sort of overall competition designed to root out planted narcotics, all within a short time frame. It will be challenging but she feels that she and Timber are ready for it. They have been doing some training on the side.
Like so many of the 10,000 plus athletes competing in these games, Michaloski speaks of the bond among people around the world who work to protect the public from danger.

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