By Danielle Korzhenyak and Shelby Lofton
Patrolling down the hallways, with a face of determination and a nose of accomplishment is none other than Granada Hills Charter High School’s (GHCHS) drug dog, Buddy. Buddy and his handler, Bill, have made a name for themselves in GHCHS’s walkways, whether for detecting prohibited drugs or pleasantly interrupting class. Buddy can incite both positive attention and intense dread.
Finding a dog is a selective process. In order to be a part of the canine team, there are two requirements: sociability and a high hunt drive. In high schools, the two types of breeds used are Golden Retrievers and Labradors, because they are non-aggressive, hunting breed dogs. Usually, the career of a healthy drug dog spans for about nine years, beginning at the ripe age of 18 months and ending around ten years of age.
People have seen Buddy in action, but being a drug dog entails more than just random search-and-sniff visits at GHCHS. Buddy comes from the Los Angeles Interquest Detection Canines program which proudly serves more than 80 public and private schools as well as several Fortune 500 companies. This program trains hundreds of dogs to meet standards and complete their important task. The role of the canine team is to deter kids from bringing contraband items to school. This program is an integral part of our school safety program and is paid for by the PTSA.
Just like their canines, the trainers know how to handle the difficult requirements of the job. When Buddy comes to GHCHS, he is accompanied by Bill, a retired police officer. Although Bill did not train Buddy, he is specialized in handling Buddy as they proceed to each school. Not only is Bill Buddy’s handler, but he is also his owner. Just like any other domesticated dog, drug dogs require a home and an owner they can come home to every day. The dogs and their handlers form a very tight bond, since they start their days off at 5:30 in the morning and serve various schools each day.
While conducting a phone interview with Scott Edmonds, the president of Los Angeles Interquest Detection Canines, we discovered that Edmonds was Buddy’s trainer and has high remarks for his former student.
“Buddy is a slow and methodical dog with an extremely sensitive nose,” Edmonds stated with admiration.
Unfortunately, Buddy will be retiring this year, but GHCHS will soon be introduced to a new and valuable canine walking the grounds of campus. Now that the role of a drug dog is known to the students of GHCHS, we can come into school knowing that we have made the right choices and we have nothing to fear as Buddy strolls through the hallways.