Buddy . . . striving to become a Working Dog!

Happy, happy, happy boy, yup, that's me!! Hi there everybuddy! Guess who? It's yer cute little fuzzball Buddy here, and I've worn my little back toenails right down to the quick from jumping for joy this week! Guess what, guess what? Oh geez, I'm just sssoooooo excited!! I did really good on all my tests and got to go do an honest to goodness real live drug search at a Federal Prison! Me! Little old nobuddy me, the Budmeister and my three German Shepherd friends! I just can't believe it! Mommy always told me that if I studied real hard, all my lessons would pay off. Well, she sure was right! It was so cool, I'm gonna tell ya all about it right now.

First we had to go meet the Mister I'm in charge of prison security man in a super double secret parking lot near the prison at agent (I wanted to ask him if his name was Mulder but Mom said he was not from the movies), while they cleared all the bad prisoners out of their cells. (Uncle Steve said this is the first time they ever let drug dogs right into the cells where the naughty prisoners live.) They had to get them outta there so they wouldn't have to worry about our safety. We waited and waited and waited, (I was getting so excited!) and finally, they said we could go in!

When the coast was clear, we drove into the federal prison. The prison peoples said I'm not allowed to tell ya which one for security reasons, but we did get some neat pictures for you all to see. When we drove down the driveway, I saw this really big dog house with all these rolls of funny looking shiny stuff laying on the ground and hooked on top of these giant
kennels. Honest to gosh, that has to be the biggest kennel in the whole wide world! And let me tell ya, those big shiny tunnel looking things sure don't look like the agility tunnels I've been seeing on TV! There were just miles and miles of the big kennel fence with the shiny stuff and a huge brick dog house right in the middle. I sure don't think I liked the looks of that dog house!

When we got there, we were greeted by some more prison security peoples. They asked permission to pet me cause they were told that most drug dogs are "bite trained." Mommy just snickered and said I was just the friendly little Bud-Man, and of course they could pet me! I really liked these guys, they all gave me pets and hugs and told be what a nice boy I was. (Of course Mommy made sure I was wearin my Sunday-goin'-to-meetin' clothes so I looked all polished up for my first real job.) Then Mister I'm the head of security man came on the radio and said the coast was clear and we could come in. I didn't tell Mommy that I was a little scared, and just happily walked up the sidewalk next to her. Like right next to her. Like velcro stuck to her leg next to her, if you know what I mean.

Mister security man came out with a really big key and opened the door for us. We went in the giant thick door and slam, it shut and locked behind us. Then another man came out and had to take all of our pictures to have on file. Even though I gave 'em my bestest ever smile, I think they were pointing the camera at Mommy. I didn't get it, but Mommy asked why she didn't have to hold any numbers under her face. Once they were done taking pictures, out came another big key, and they took us into another room . . . slam. Once that door closed, they opened another door and let us out into the kennel.

We walked through the yard to another fence, more keys opened another kennel and then they said we had to go up the stairs into this big building, you know, the one I thought was a dog house. Well I looked at those stairs and my heart went in my furry little throat. Those weren't like any stairs I ever saw! They were open in the back with metal grates for steps. Not this kid, no way, no how, but Mommy . . . uh oh, Mommy doesn't care, here we go anyway! Aaahhhhhhh!! Hey, guess what? I didn't even get sucked through 'em or transported to another world or nuthin'. I just walked up 'em like I knew what I was doin! I was a bit scared at first, but by the third trip that day, I thought they were pretty cool, running up and down them with a big smile on my face!

So now, into the prison. We had 64 cells to check in the high security area, and two entire floors of rooms in the minimum security areas. We did the high security areas first. Mom and I were assigned to do about half the rooms in one area of the cell block. We had our very own security guard who accompanied us and unlocked anything that needed it. I checked every room. I jumped on every bed and sniffed everything real good. I sniffed every locker, book, shoe, coat, you name it, I sniffed it. We checked the bathrooms, showers, everything! Now comes the best part. I'm sniffin away and jump on a bed and that's when I smelled it . . . Drugs!! I started scratching my little paws off!

Mom called the security guard and Uncle Steve to double check it with my more experienced GSD friend "Holmie," and wham, he starts diggin in the exact same spot! Well lemme tell ya, those prison guys were tearing that room apart in no time and this bad prisoner got in even more trouble for having bad drugs in his mattress! Mom gave me my towel and played and played and played with me! She said I was her bestest boy ever! (I think I'm winning her over.) Then all the prison guards played with me too. It was really fun but, our job was not nearly over. We checked lots of other rooms and found stuff in lockers and coats and all over. Holmie confirmed all my finds and we got lots of atta boys that day! I just can't believe how fun it was! When we finally finished, the prison peoples let Uncle Steve take pictures of me and Mommy with all my new prison friends. Then they even fed us a really good lunch and gave us a little tour. It was so much fun and I'll never forget it as long as I live, 'cept for one part that is.

I heard Mom talking with the prison guards about me being trained for use by policeman peoples for drug searches. Some of these prison peoples said they sure would be interested in a nice boy like me. Noooooo!!! I really liked 'em but I don't wanna go live with 'em! Can't you guys do sumpfin? Can't ya tell my Mommy and Daddy I don't wanna live with anyone else? Why don't they get it? Well, I decided I'm not gonna worry about it anymore or I'll get an ulcer. Instead, I'm just gonna do my best, cause that's all I can do. Maybe eventually, they will just know I belong with them.

This week after the prison search, we got to do a school demo for the Head Start kids. These are really little kids who need lots of love. Hey, sounds like a job for the Budmeister! This time, Mommy and Daddy took me and Daddy's Search and Rescue partner "Badger." We showed the kids all about what to do if you get lost and Badger even went and found Mommy cause she got lost up on the stage! All the kids laughed and clapped cause Badger was slip slidin on the slippery stage trying to run and find Mommy. I got to do a demo for the kids too and show them how good I am at finding drugs.

Mommy told them all about how I'm a real drug dog now cause I got to do an honest to goodness search at the prison. Then she told them about how hard I've worked to overcome my fears and that no one can ever call me a Cowardly Lion again. Then sumpfin' really special happened. Mommy and the head teacher announced that all the kids had to be extra quiet cause they had to present a special award to someone in the room. I sat there wondering who the lucky kid could be to get a special award. No one spoke a word. Then, the teacher called the name . . . mine! She asked if Buddy would come to the front of the room to get his special award! Was there another kid there named Buddy? Could she possibly be talking about me? Oh gosh, I was so nervous!

Mom and I walked up and then I saw it. In her hand, she had a real . . . just like the one on the Wizard of Oz Badge of Courage! She put it around my neck and said that never again would I have to be afraid cause now I have Courage!! Then all the kids cam up and hugged my and I gave 'em all kisses and it was Wonderful!! Oh boy oh boy, my very own badge of courage! I sure hope I can live up to that! I keep it in a special place right on the door of my kennel to remind me to be brave. That sure was a special day I'll never forget.

Well gosh, I've had a busy week. Now I'm gonna have to ask everyone to wish me the biggest luck yet. Remember when I told you about going to that dog beauty contest match and bein real afraid? And how Mommy thinks I'm a failure cause I didn't do good? Well, Mommy entered me in a real dog show and we gotta go and I don't know how I'll do cause I never been in one and oh dear, Oops, I almost forgot...courage, courage, courage. OK, I'll practice it this week. I hope I do good cause then maybe that will make Mom and Dad want me! I'm gonna go practice bein' brave right now. Gotta go! Until next time, Stay Golden!

Love and Sloppy kisses, Yer little buddy . . . Buddy
(Send comments or questions to Mary MacQueen)

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