[Posted by ClinkShrink]
One day I was standing at the prison gate waiting to be let in. I felt warm moist air puffing gently against the back of my knees. I turned around and there was a German Shepherd. A big German Shepherd. He was looking up at me and sniffing, taking a great interest in something I couldn't see. I asked the officer who was with him, "Does he eat shrinks?"
The officer laughed, but I noticed he never answered my question. That wasn't comforting.
"What's his name?"
"Oh, I can't tell you that. He's a working dog."
"Can I pet him?"
"No ma'am, he's on the job."
Since I couldn't pet him and I didn't know his name, I called him Harley. I saw Harley around periodically after that, as well as other drug detection dogs I got to know fairly well although not on a first name basis. There was the chocolate lab, the older German Shepherd and the yellow retriever who was my favorite. The retriever would prance through the jail like it was the favorite thing in the world for him to do. He was practically grinning the whole time. Mentally I called him Cute Dog.
One day the retriever's handler showed up without him.
"Where's the pup?" I asked.
"Oh, he's out in the truck," the officer said.
"Ha," I said. "Don't worry, by the time you get back he'll have the transmission fixed. That dog is smart."
I haven't seen Cute Pup for a while and I'm a little worried. Drug detection dogs are a key part of institutional security, but they also help out a little with staff morale. They're our version of Pets On Wheels.