River talk

The divinity of dogs

By SANDY LONG
Posted 12/22/21

You’ve probably heard the phrase, “Dog is God spelled backwards.” It’s a reminder of the many graces bestowed on us by our beloved canine companions. Not the least of these is …

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River talk

The divinity of dogs

Posted

You’ve probably heard the phrase, “Dog is God spelled backwards.” It’s a reminder of the many graces bestowed on us by our beloved canine companions. Not the least of these is how we enjoy the wild and scenic beauty of the Upper Delaware River region together.

I’ve been blessed with several divine canines who share my love of the great outdoors and are endlessly eager to experience it with me. They came into my life via the Dessin Animal Shelter in Honesdale, PA, but all animal shelters and rescues serving our region offer angels for adoption, including cats.

Among their many other gifts, dogs perform important jobs, such as assisting New York State Department of Environmental Conservation police officers (ECOs) in enforcing New York environmental conservation law.

According to the department, in 2020, 298 ECOs and investigators responded to 29,673 calls and worked on cases that resulted in 11,952 tickets or arrests for crimes ranging from deer poaching to solid waste dumping, illegal mining, the black market pet trade, and excessive emissions violations.

Sometimes they are assisted by highly skilled dogs like K9 ECO Handley, who on December 1 helped apprehend criminals involved in a two-county car chase. Following is an edited account of the story:

Raven walked up to me one day, sporting a star. While she is unlikely to ever apprehend any criminals, Raven’s divine nature is evident in this celestial snapshot.
Raven walked up to me one day, sporting a star. While she is unlikely to ever apprehend any criminals, Raven’s divine nature is evident in this …

ECO Fuerch, Handley’s handler, received a complaint from a hunter who had encountered a male subject carrying a shotgun and backpack while trespassing. The subject dropped the backpack and ran into the woods when the complainant confronted him, and the complainant retrieved the backpack, which contained deer antlers and deer calls.

During her follow-up, Fuerch observed a vehicle parked partially in the roadway with its lights off. Suspecting it was there to pick up the subject who ran into the woods, the ECO approached and turned on her emergency lights. The vehicle drove off, and Fuerch radioed a Genesee County sheriff’s deputy, who deployed spike strips, causing the operator to lose control of the vehicle after the tires began to break apart. The vehicle came to a stop and two occupants fled into the woods. A third occupant was taken into custody.

ECO Fuerch deployed K9 Handley to track and locate the men who fled. They were apprehended and are facing a host of charges. The case is especially noteworthy as K9 Handley underwent lifesaving emergency surgery just two months previously, after suffering a serious medical emergency while on the job.

Read the full story and see a photo of K9 ECO Handley and ECO Fuerch at https://bit.ly/3F7KEBM.

During this season of gratitude and giving, please consider supporting your favorite animal shelter or rescue organization with a donation of money or time. Most shelters welcome volunteer dog walkers, which helps to ease the stress of shelter life. That’s how I met my current canine angels. Your new best friend might be waiting to bestow blessings on you, too.

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