October 2, marked the second birthday and first month on the job for Waverly, the Explosive Detection K9. The 50-pound half lab, half golden retriever is the partner of Officer Clayton Buchanan and newest member of the Sacramento Police department.
Waverly was bred through the Canine Companions for Independence (CCI) selective breeding program located in Santa Rosa. Following her first weeks of life, Waverly was assigned to a puppy raiser in Fair Oaks where she was initially prepared for a career as a service dog. As a result of her breeding, she comes equipped with a premium sniffer, bounds of energy, a small athletic physique and a gentle nature with Buchanan stating, “She’s as friendly as they come.”
Waverly’s day job includes riding the Regional Transit in search of guns and explosives, and article search, which involves tracking a suspect’s origin from human scent left on an article. Waverly is a dual functioning dog whose training is part of a proactive approach to minimizing city threats.
For explosive training, dogs are typically taught a three-step sequence: smell the explosive compound, alert, receive a reward. The cost for this training is several thousand dollars and takes months of extensive training. Even after she begins her career in the field, she will work with trainer Steve Brewer, formerly of the Sacramento Police Department, for five hours of maintenance training every other week. The price tag for a fully trained Explosive Detection K9 can range from $8,000-$15,000.
Despite comprehensive training, not all dogs make the cut. Waverly was the third dog Officer Buchanan was assigned since June. When asked how he knew Waverly had secured the position, he responded by saying “When a dog makes the Facebook page, they are here to stay.” Considering she made a hit on her first day helping service a search warrant, it’s no wonder they want to keep her on the team.
On and off the job, Waverly is at the side of her human partner Officer Buchanan, who is currently assigned to explosive ordinance disposal and has the benefit of working with an exceptional dog as part his job.
When she is not looking for explosives, Waverly resides at the home of Officer Buchanan and his three children. Buchanan said that “Waverly loves to sleep.” When her day starts at 4:30 a.m., he’s waking her up, reminding her it’s time to get to work.
Her career is expected to span through the next 10 years, and her retirement will be spent living out her life with Buchanan and his family.