Military and Working Dogs Celebrated on National K9 Veterans Day

NORTH MANKATO, Minn. (KEYC) — Sunday is National K9 Veterans Day, a time to honor the service and sacrifices of U.S. military and working dogs.

It was on March 13, 1942 that the Army began its war dog program, or the K9 Corps.

Dogs have been part of the United States Armed Forces for 80 years, but they also play an important role here at home.

Meet K9 Dillon, a German Shepherd with nearly eight years of policing under his belt.

He patrols the streets of Nicollet County alongside his handler, Deputy Sheriff Paul Biederman.

“He comes to work with me every day,” Biederman said.

Dillon isn’t just Biederman’s partner at work, he’s a member of his family.

Biederman added, “I spend more time with him than anyone else.”

Before Dillon, there was Draeco.

He was the department’s first K9 unit that worked for eight and a half years.

After retirement, Biederman adopted another.

“I raised him from a puppy and started training him when he was very small. The training lasts 12 to 14 weeks. It’s usually an intensive school where you go every day and work with the dog,” Biederman explained.

Dillon’s main tasks are to detect hidden or concealed objects.

“He is trained in narcotics detection, so we can search wherever we need to. He can search for evidence, so items or evidence of a crime that may have been dropped or lost, he can search for that,” Biederman said. “It can search for missing persons, so people missing by accident or intentionally, if they are trying to evade arrest or capture.”

Dillon is also trained to put himself in harm’s way to defend Biederman and other law enforcement.

Their partnership shows just how strong a bond can be with man’s best friend.

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Bette C. Alvarado