POSTED: Monday, September 20, 2010 - 8:01pm
UPDATED: Wednesday, September 22, 2010 - 7:09pm
Last week a member of the Border Patrol made an 800 pound marijuana bust. But he didn't get a trophy or even a pat on the back. Instead, he got a bone.
Jacko wouldn't hurt a fly. But he's an invaluable tool to border patrol to stop smugglers in their tracks.
"There's nothing better than the cold nose of the dog," said Clay Thomas, assistant chief at the Canine Training Center. We can't tell you where it's located, but it's one of only two in the nation and trains dogs to be sent to to all sectors of the border.
"They train on real narcotics, they find real humans to prepare them for every scenario we can possibly create."
But they are animals, so how can Border Patrol be sure they're safe? Well, each canine is assigned to an agent who trains it, disciplines it, and even takes it home.
"We are fully confident with every team that leaves here are suitable for the field and are ready to go," Thomas said. And he knows firsthand the importance of the bond built with the animals. He's had Jacko for twelve years. They've even travelled to New York City together after Jacko was named the 2005 "Canine of the Year." But Jacko doesn't do it for the glamour.
"They want to do their job everyday they go out and they are there to enhance the agent and his abilities in the field," Thomas said.
Now, Jacko's fourteen years old. And Thomas will have to endure what may be the hardest job yet for them - saying goodbye.
"It's really been the most rewarding thing in my career, having Jacko with me."