Apr 11, 2003

What keeps a police dog going?

(The opportunity to reflect on the motivations of a canine cop presents itself at the University Circle signal: a representative from the back of a police van ahead of me provokes the question)

Why does he do it? Does he understand the great service he is providing? Or is it pure training, a conditioning of his doggy mind achieved over months of instruction, followed by the meat-bowl? Surely, the timings of the job are not settled or pleasant, so say its human counterparts (not the kutte kameene of the human worlds, but the men suffixed in the police-* ). Nor is the potential criminal-customer-force likely to be appreciative of these working conditions. But does Zanjeer crib while being asked to perform mal-odoriferous tasks at airports at 1.00 a.m. or does he wag his tail to keep his pension benefits intact? If we knew more about what makes them tick and perform their job decently, perhaps we could get more of them to replace the disgruntled parts of the force, and learn how to civilize the savage 21st century working methods. And are they the least corruptible members of any squad, only likely to be derailed by the possible of the juicy bone? I read somewhere that the dog-handlers are encouraged not to get too close to their dogs, for no one knows in the dangerous business of law-and-order, who may fall next.

(The lights decide to switch to green: the van ahead speeds away)

Perhaps, he does it for the view from the back of the open van, with the perk of the air gushing through his collar on a hot sunny day.

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