MUSCATINE, Iowa–Though many people associate working dogs with police departments, K9 units play many vital roles with fire departments as well. For the past year and a half, Grandview Fire and Rescue Assistant Chief Dan Conry has trained the department’s up and coming K9, Jinxe, in both search and rescue and human remains detection.
Since 2019, Conry and Jinxe have worked together to complete the requirements to receive both search and rescue and human remains detection certification. This has included working on obedience, direction and control training, trailing specific odors on land, and final response training. In the near future, Conry intends to introduce Jinxe to trailing odors in water as well. As long as her training continues to progress consistently, Conry anticipates getting certification before the end of August.
Once certified, Jinxe will assist the department in numerous ways, such as helping to find missing persons (like people with dementia who wander away from home) and identifying human remains pulled from the river. Though Jinxe will work with Grandview Fire and Rescue, Conry will share her services with other departments in the region as well. “It’s going to benefit our county and neighboring counties as well,” he emphasized.
Like many K9 unit handlers, Conry does it as a volunteer. In many cases, handlers have to cover a lot of the costs relating to training and equipping their dog on their own, which can quickly get expensive. In January, Jinxe received a $5,000 grant from the Schlutz Family Foundation, which helped pay for her crash rated travel crate, harness, long lines, and continuing education.
Still, Conry knows that for Jinxe to complete the certification process and to keep up with continuing education classes they will need additional funding. “This isn’t something you do for two years and then you’re done,” stressed Conry. “It’s an ongoing process.”
In order to offset these costs, Conry has set up a fundraiser. Anyone wanting to help cover the cost of Jinxes’s training can purchase a practical and fun insulated cup with all proceeds going to pay for Jinxes’s training. Each sizeable metal tumbler comes in orange and has the phrase, “Team Jinxe,” engraved on the back. If you would like to purchase a cup (which cost $35 each) or make a donation of any size to further Jinxes’s training, you may do so by contacting Conry through Jinxe’s Facebook page.