NEWTON, Iowa -- A stray pup is earning his stripes as the newest K-9 for the Newton Police Department in Newton, Iowa. "Smokey" will be the department's first police dog in 25 years.
The one-year-old Border Collie mix isn't your typical drug dog.
"We didn't want that perception of a big, scary dog," said Newton Police Chief Rob Burdess.
But don't let Smokey, the sweet-faced, tail wagging pup fool you. His nose will help police fight crime. He'll be utilized to sniff out drugs.
Officer Zach Walker is Smokey's new handler. They'll be training for four weeks. They're working on tracking and narcotics detection.
"The trainers who have done it for a long time make it look very easy," Walker said.
Dennis George, owner of Midwest K-9 Protection and Detection, rescued Smokey from the Animal Rescue League. He says the police dog loves people and is a hard worker, but it will take some time for the new partners to learn each other's cues.
"It's a combination of the dog learning to work with the handler and the handler bonding and understanding his dog," explained George.
The K-9 program costs about $60,000. The community has donated about $8,000 to the program since December.
Smokey should be ready to hit the streets by the beginning of April.