It was graduation day today for three DPS drug sniffing dogs and their handlers. They completed an intense eight-week training program, and are now ready to hit the streets. In addition to these three obedient dogs, their three handlers graduated. They say they have created bonds with these dogs that even the most devious criminals cannot break.
Some call them man's best friend. For troopers, they are, and then some.
"The bond that I have now is going to be a lifetime bond," Corey Robinson, trooper, said.
Over the last two months, Trooper Robinson has worked closely with six-year-old Quoc.
The black Labrador is graduating today and will be sniffing out drugs and other contraband very soon. Trooper Robinson will keep Quoc in his home. His daughters Journee and Kori are excited to have him around.
"The whole eight weeks they were asking me what dog are you bringing home?” Robinson said.
Quoc's friends Csarli and Taser are graduating too. DPS says dogs are some of the most valued members of their force. In 2014, canine teams sniffed out 293 pounds of cocaine, 52 pounds of heroin, 441 pounds of meth, and the list keeps going.
"They seized over 15,000 pounds of marijuana," Chris Jones, state K-9 coordinator, said.
The troopers use white towels to teach the dogs how to discover drugs.
"Once you associate the scent, an animal never forgets. They're looking for that smell. In their mind, they're looking for a towel," Jones said.
"They kind of use those towels as a representation of the odor. It stimulates them to keep the drive going," Robinson said.
Director Steve McCraw says with their specialized skill sets, these graduating troopers and dogs will play a huge role in disrupting drug trafficking in Texas.
Kwok will begin his trooper duties shortly. Trooper Robinson knows the Labrador's friendship and loyalty will be instrumental in fighting the war on drugs.
"Once Quoc retires I'll probably keep him with me. He's a part of the family now," Robinson said.
Two of the dogs were obtained from the U.S. Department of Defense. One was obtained from an animal shelter.