A new crime fighting duo
It has been a bittersweet past week for Steele County sheriff’s deputy Caleb Buck.
On Monday just days after he welcomed a new police dog to the family, he was forced to put down one of his own dogs because of a kidney problem.
Buck’s attention will now be focused on his newest addition to the family, Willow, a 2-year-old German Shepard from Slovakia. Willow joins Buck’s 1-year-old poodle at home. Asked how they have acclimated to each other, Buck said, “After 10 minutes of sniffing and hair standing up, they got it figured out.”
The new K-9 duo won’t begin training until September. In the meantime, Buck plans to focus on building a relationship with Willow. He plans to go on walks with the dog and spend time in the house. “There will be a lot of touch, praise and playing around,” Buck says. “I want to build the relationship with trust. I’m her friend on her side.”
Buck said Willow will be treated just like another member of the family. “I’ve always liked dogs,” he said, noting he has always had an interest in becoming a K-9 handler. He has been a deputy with the sheriff’s office for the past four years.
“The ability for a human and animal to work together with such precision is super cool,” said Buck, who is a 2013 graduate of Owatonna High School.
Police work won’t be knew to Willow, who has trained and worked with another police department in Minnesota. That department wanted a different type of police dog, making Willow available to Steele County. The dog came through Performance Dog Kennel in Buffalo, Minn.
Even though Willow has prior law enforcement experience, Buck will still train with her for 10 weeks. “It’s now getting me to be trained to her,” he said.
Buck describes Willow as a dual-purpose dog that will track people, evidence and drugs. She will be used to track lost children, adults and suspects. “She can track people, she just can’t bite,” he said. He added she will always be on a leash and not allowed to bite anyone.
The deputy said he is excited to start patrolling with his new partner. “I’m just anxious to start, but I want to wait (until she’s trained),” Buck said.
Buck and Willow will travel to Buffalo for 10 weeks of intense police training beginning Sept. 8.