PanteraThis pretty boy may look like he just lounging around like any other dog but this is Pantera, the newest addition to Chicago Police Department’s Organized Crime Division although it wasn’t all that long ago this 16-month-old Black Lab’s future didn’t look so bright.  He was a shelter dog, spending his time at the Chicago Ridge Animal Welfare League.

That was until the shelter called the department to ask if they might have some interest in Pantera and when Canine police officer Steve Martinez checked the pooch out, he found him a wonderful candidate. Starting in May, Pantera underwent “a rigorous curriculum of narcotics detection techniques,” an eight week narcotics training course and is now the youngest canine on the force.

Pantera1“As staunch supporters of canines, we view this as a win-win situation–the department gets and excellent canine partner, and Chicago Ridge finds a good home for Pantera,” said Deputy Superintendent Steve Peterson.

After taking to the streets last month Pantera has proved himself quite adept for his job recovering evidence and helping to execute warrants. The Chicago PD has said that now they plan to continue to seek their canine recruit from shelters.

“It just goes to show that shelter dogs have so much potential,” said Terri Sparks, marketing and public relations director for the Animal Welfare League. “We hope to work on future endeavors like this very soon and hope that other law enforcement agencies catch on.”

Now wouldn’t if just be wonderful if more police departments did follow suit here?  Too many people look at shelter animals as “damaged” in some way but usually the damaged one was the person who surrendered them to the shelter for one reason or another.  Shelters are full of wonderful animals, from puppies to senior, from the loveable mutt to purebred, there’s something for everyone.  Spending alot of money on a dog doesn’t mean you’re getting a better dog than you could find in a shelter.

Pantera has a wonderful chance to be not only a hero but a symbol as well, a symbol of just what a shelter dog can be, given the chance!

Kudos to the Chicago Police department and good luck to Pantera and his partner!!

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