ROCHESTER, Minn. - The Rochester Fire Department is deploying a new dynamic duo whose differences are proving to be their strength.
Battalion Chief Holly Mulholland and the department's new K9 Search Specialist Loki adding a new level of expertise to local search and rescue missions. Loki, a playful two-year-old Belgian Malinois, made his move to the Med City after once waiting for a place to call home.
"Loki came from a humane society, he was a rescue. So there were a lot of people involved with Loki, who saw his potential," Chief Mulholland said.
Over the past few months, Loki has been honing in on his potential with Chief Mulholland. Now, once Loki is off his leash, he adds more than just a fresh set of paws to the team, deploying his superb senses to help first responders in life-or-death situations.
"They have an astounding odor sensing capability, if you know that about dogs. They see the world through their nose, and so they can sense things that we can't yet see. Mulholland continued, "they can move very quickly, they can discern their order that they've been trained on from distractions and things like that. So they just add such a huge resource in terms of, especially lifeline, being able to locate those trapped live victims as quickly as possible. And then they can help focus those rescue efforts, so if Loki were to indicate in a certain area, that helps the rescue team know where to begin to search."
Spend some time with Loki, and you'll see the warm and fuzzy personality behind his bark. Just to ask his bunkmate, Battalion Chief Mulholland.
"Loki has a very nice off switch, so this is actually a good personality quirk for a Malinois. He knows when he's working, and he knows when he's not. I have his toy in my back pocket right now and, and he's calm, and he's just hanging out. And that's something I see with him when we get home. We work, and when he's done working, he has his dinner, and his commonplaces is on the couch, usually his feet in the air sound asleep."
And the work continues for Loki and Battalion Chief Mulholland. RFD says they're working to expand Loki's skillset, pursuing a certification in wilderness search and other credentials.