|NICK THE DOG|
October, 12 2007
He is the newest member of the Port Arthur Fire Department
and he's an expert in detecting explosive devices.
He has a nose for crime and is originally from Holland. Nick
the dog is a one and a half year old German shepherd.
"Nick is certified to detect about a dozen explosive odors
ranging from dynamite, c-4. He can detect these odors from a
great distance 100 feet away. He's nailed these odors."
"He hasn't even peaked in his ability," said Sastre
Nick's handler, best friend, and fellow firefighter Mark
Sastre spent a month at the Global K-9 Training Academy in
San Antonio training and familiarizing himself with Nick.
Sastre says taking on Nick was a full-time commitment since
the k-9 lives with him.
"Every week we spend about 4 hours of training, running
patterns, to keep his skills sharp," he said.
The two are required to return to San Antonio every year for
a week of training.
Sastre says the two workout together everyday.
He said, "His physical health is just as important to him as
it is to us."
Nick replaces the Port Arthur Fire Department's canine Ivar,
who died suddenly in June from an illness.
Firefighters say they didn't have the money to buy another
canine until members of the Port Arthur Industrial Group,
which includes Motiva, Chevron Phillips, and Huntsman,
pitched in the $10,000 to buy Nick.
They say it was the least they could do.
"Very important we had to call the fire department several
times to come out and help us, random checks, we always had
that as a resource," said Todd Monette from Motiva.
While Nick's expertise is sniffing out bombs, Sastre says at
the end of the day Nick's just one of the guys.
"Nick is a real laid back mellow dog, he's kind of shy
around new people but once he gets to know you he will want
to go play ball with you," said Sastre.
Nick joined the department two weeks ago. Firefighters have
ordered him a badge and bullet proof vest.
Credit : Nicole Murray
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