An Officer’s Best Friend: K-9 Quinn Forms Everlasting Bond
Before Travis Bove had a wife and kids, he had Quinn. For the past six years, they’ve only been apart one day — the day Bove got married.
Bove remembers the day Quinn became part of his family. The German Shepherd sprinted through his new house, repeatedly jumping in circles from couch to couch. According to Bove, “he moved a mile a minute — no — a mile a second.”
Quinn was 2 at the time. For the past six years, he’s been Bove’s police dog.
One of the four police dogs in the East Lansing K-9 unit, Quinn was specially trained to search for narcotics, but he also does area searches, article searches and tracking. Quinn is able to find people and things by using his strong sense of smell. Quinn was brought to Michigan from Budapest, Hungary, so when Bove speaks to him, he uses Hungarian commands.
Change of pace
Bove had been an officer for more than 10 years when he decided to apply for a police dog.
“The K-9 unit jumped out to me,” Bove said. “I’ve always liked dogs and the excitement of it. It just sounded like it fit me, and I like the bond.”
After his application was accepted, Bove attended one month of training with Quinn. Additionally, they train for the K-9 unit twice a month, special response every two months and national certification every year. Training includes simulations of real-life situations, and the training increases in difficulty as the dog improves. They also re-create situations in which Quinn was successful or unsuccessful to try and improve upon them.
“If there was a positive or failure, we talk about that, and we try to mimic it,” Bove said. “We try to build that back up and make it more of a positive for next time.”
New day, new adventure
Bove and Quinn never know what to expect going into a day on duty.
“There is no rhyme or reason to a day in law enforcement,” Bove said. “Some days are super busy, and it’s nonstop, and some days are a little slower, but that is one of the exciting things. You don’t come into work and know that you’re gonna do a specific task. You never know what call you’re gonna get. There are days when [Quinn] doesn’t come out of the car, and there are days when he does three or four K-9 calls. Those are the fun days.”
Quinn’s tasks can vary anywhere from locating a missing child or an adult with dementia to tracking criminals and drugs. For Bove, helping people is one of the highlights of the job.
“It’s always nice to be able to provide a victim some level of closure when they had a crime committed against them, and then that person fled,” Bove said. “To be able to catch that person in a short amount of time is a good feeling.”
Man’s best co-worker
East Lansing’s four police dogs live with their handlers. Bove attributes his strong bond with Quinn to be a result of the job and the amount of time they spend together.
“[The dogs] are with you more than your family,” Bove said. “They come to work with you, and they come home with you. I think anybody who has a pet at home has that bond, but then you add in the fact that there are times that we go out to get the worst of the worst that society has offered, people who have committed crimes against other people, sometimes violent crimes, and to know that he would, in a heartbeat, put his life in danger to protect mine is definitely an added bond that goes into that. You can’t really put words to the type of bond between a police dog and their handler.”
Quinn will retire from duty as a police dog in approximately one year, and although Bove has enjoyed his time in the K-9 unit, he doesn’t think he’ll apply for another dog. But he’ll come home to Quinn, eagerly waiting to greet him.
“He loves coming to work,” Bove said. “I think that’s where this bond has come from, his drive and his ability to do his tasks well has just made that bond that much stronger. I had him before I was married and before I had children. He’s part of the family. He’s always been there. It worked out perfectly. There would be no other dog that I’d want. This dog has done an extremely good job in his time here.”
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