A school can be kept safe in many ways. One way St. Edward maintains a safe environment for the students is through a private company called Interquest Canines. Dogs trained to sniff out commonly abused prescription drugs, alcohol, gunpowder or ammunition residue and more will be visiting St. Edward unannounced throughout the school year to check lockers and parking lots.
On Jan. 17, Bear, one of the Interquest school safety dogs and his owner, Glen vadeBonCoeur, came to work with the students and did locker checks. Bear is an 8 year old golden retriever who started working when he was only a year and a half old. He is a very energetic dog. During his work time, he needs breaks. Breaks especially help Bear’s job to be kept as a fun game for him. Bear was rewarded every now and then. “Bear can find illegal drugs, marijuana, cocaine, weapons, gunpowder, alcoholic beverages, prescription meds and over the counter medicines too,” says vadeBonCoeur.
In order for dogs to work as school safety dogs under Interquest, they have to start testing when they’re little pups. As little pups they are expected to play fetch and bring the ball back at least 40 times. Concentration and stamina are the key components that Interquest is looking for when they’re training the dogs during the game of fetch. Every summer the Interquest canines have a refresher training camp. The dogs go to a school and the trainers challenge the dogs to make sure they know what they’re working for. Bear is purely toy motivated.
Although school safety dogs are serious when they’re working, due to their high levels of concentration, they also attend fun events with kids. Some of those events include football games, basketball games and any other outdoor activities. “Any time you have a large group of people, there’ll always be a few that are bad no matter where you’re at. Our job is to keep it safe for you guys, but hey St. Edward is a very good school so let’s keep it that way,” says vadeBonCoeur.