Monday, September 21, 2015

Cops and their Canines . . . by Kate James


I have tremendous respect and appreciation for people who dedicate themselves to protecting us and our communities. No surprise to those of you who know me: I also have a great love of animals. What better way to combine these two things than to write about K-9 unit police officers, their dogs and love interests. This is how my K-9 trilogy came to be.

My October 1st release, When the Right One Comes Along, is the first book in the trilogy. The second book, When Love Matters Most, is scheduled for release on January 1st and will be available in select Walmart stores in February. The third book is tentatively titled When the Sky's the Limit, and is planned for release in June 2016.

An unexpected benefit of writing these stories was how much fun I had doing the research!

After obtaining the requisite security clearance and approvals, I had the great pleasure of spending a considerable amount of time with PC Jim Hilton of Ontario’s York Regional Police. PC Hilton is a K-9 expert and trainer, and is partnered with explosives detection dog, Max. PC Hilton was extremely generous with his time, knowledge and expertise, and I loved meeting Max.

I am happy to share with you some of the highlights of my day with PC Hilton and Max.
My first introduction to explosives detection police service dog (PSD) Max.

 Did you know police service dogs have their own police badges?

PSD Max’s badge.

PC Hilton was willing to put Max through some training exercises for me and demonstrate Max’s remarkable agility skills—a prerequisite for Max’s job.

PC Jim Hilton and his explosives detection K-9 partner, Max.

Would you think a police service dog could scale a six-foot barricade or climb a ladder...conditions the dogs can often face in the field while on duty? I captured the next picture while Max was demonstrating his agility skills.

PC Hilton putting Max through his agility exercises.

For all animal lovers, you’d be thrilled to see how enthusiastic and joyous Max is about doing his exercises. I was surprised to learn that Max’s positive reinforcement for a job well done is praise and a Kong toy—no treats.

PC Hilton shared with me some of the intricacies of the work he and Max are called upon to do, and the training exercises they undergo to ensure Max remains in top form. Did you know that the K-9 unit officers and their dogs have one of the most dangerous jobs in law enforcement? Read When the Right One Comes Along to find out why! :-D

Did you know that police service dogs often have their own “business cards?”

PSD Max’s “business card.”
Max’s bio is on his card. He was born on December 12, 2008 in the Czech Republic and was brought to Canada in March 2011 to become a police service dog. Did you know that most police service dogs are not bred in North America but imported from countries such as Germany, Holland and Belgium? Read When Love Matters Most to find out why!

PC Hilton even gave me reference materials to take home and peruse at my leisure!
Nothing like a little light nighttime reading.

It’s no hardship spending my time doing this type of research! I'm grateful to PC Hilton and Max for educating me with respect to the roles and responsibilities of the K-9 unit, K-9 unit officers and their police service dogs. If you get the chance to read my K-9 trilogy, I hope you enjoy it.

Happy reading and, as always, I would love to hear from you! 

Social Media Links: website, twitter and Facebook. E-mail: readers@kate-james.com

Please leave a comment. One person will be selected at random to receive a signed copy of When the Right One Comes Along.
(Check the bottom of the comments section of this post tomorrow morning for the announcement of the winner.)

Visit my website for a new interview with Heartwarming authors Loree Lough and Cerella Sechrist. They talk about their books, writing, critter track identification, real-life heartwarming romance and more!

Go to the end of this post for an advance announcement about our upcoming Fall in Love this Fall giveaway, and visit this blog on Sunday, October 4th for the details!

When the Right One Comes Along

Brought together by disaster. Kept together by love.

In the aftermath of a deadly earthquake, it’s chaos for trauma surgeon Jessica Hansen. Among the many victims, one patient stands out—San Diego Police K-9 search and rescue officer Cal Palmer.

Cal vows to help Kayla, a child orphaned by the disaster. But he needs Jessica’s help. Will their shared concern for Kayla and for Cal's canine partner, Scout, allow them to put aside their personal torments and discover the difference love can make?

When Love Matters Most

Keeping her safe 

Could their backgrounds be any more different? Rick Vasquez, a K-9 unit sergeant with the San Diego Police Department, fled drug-related violence in Mexico as a boy. Madison Long, who recently became primary veterinarian to the SDPD’s canines, is the privileged daughter of a judge. A product of his upbringing, Rick’s dedicated his life to curtailing cross-border drug trafficking and preventing other young boys from being drawn into the dark world of the cartels. But all that Rick and Madison value, including the growing love between them, is threatened by the dangers of Rick’s job, and the risks he’s determined to take…



40 comments:

  1. Kate, such fascinating research here! Now I *really* can't wait to read When the Right One Comes Along to find out the reasons behind some of these facts. I especially loved that the dogs have their own business cards. I'm not telling the pugs. They'll think they need their own, too. Of course, theirs would simply read: "Will beg for treats." They wouldn't like the fact that K9 dogs aren't rewarded with food. :( lol Thanks for sharing such neat information with us!

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    1. Thank you, Cerella! I found it fascinating how motivated the police dogs are to get their Kong toys. It was a learning for me, too.

      As you might know, our current pups came to us at 14 and 18 months of age, and had only lived in kennels up until that time. They had been with their breeder so they'd never lacked for food, but they didn't have toys or off-lead exposure to the outdoors when they were growing up. They came home with us and we started to train them. We tried to use treats as rewards. That didn't work so well. Despite being Labs (notorious for their food drive), they were much more interested in the big wide world than food. Logical, since they never experienced the former and had never lacked the latter. But with a Frisbee, a ball or a chew toy . . . we started making real progress!

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    2. I didn't know that background on Harley and Logan, Kate! But that's really interesting. It sounds like you had your work cut out with them. But they seem like such sweet dogs! :)

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    3. Aha! You must have missed this post: http://heartwarmingauthors.blogspot.ca/2014/09/a-dogs-life-by-kate-james-and.html !

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    4. You know, I have seen that post on the sidebar for the longest time and must never have clicked into it!! I love all those pictures of these sweet dogs! The pugs are the same way when it comes to having their own bed - I used to have one for each of them, but they insist on curling up together so now they just have one large bed to share. I winced at the damaged laptop screen, though. Ah, the life of a furbaby mom... :)

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    5. Laptop, chew toy . . . who can tell the difference? (Certainly not Logan.)

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  2. How interesting. I would never have known police service dogs have their own business cards. That's really something. And I'd love to find out why most are not bred in North America. Thanks for sharing some of your research with us Kate James. Congratulations on your upcoming new release. I've been anticipating it for months. ( :

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    1. Aww . .. thank you Laurie. I hope you enjoy the book.

      I'm tempted to tell you why service dogs are brought to North America from other countries . . . but I'll let you read about it instead!

      Happy reading.

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  3. Interesting stuff, Kate. I love research, too.

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    1. Thanks, Liz. If I get to play with dogs, all that much better for me!

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  4. I would love doing this research, too! It's very neat that the dogs are given such respect and held in high esteem by their police unit. I love that they have a badge. I watched a documentary about a man who trains specialized dogs like this. He spoke English, but he wasn't from this country. Anyway, it was fascinating to see all that he does to prepare the dogs for the chaotic situations they will face. He even teaches them to leap through the open window of a car that's escaping! WOW. That would take extreme skill and bravery for a dog to do that, but at his command, they take off running to the car and leap through the tiny window to attack the driver. Insane. Your writing is always wonderful and I'm sure this series will be no exception! Can't wait to read it :)

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    1. It is fun, isn't it fun, isn't it! I also learned that sometimes the handler will have to "toss" their dog over a particularly tall fence.

      As far as respecting their dogs, the police department where I did my research had what I call a "wall of heroes," pictures of their retired dogs and, sadly, those who lot their lives in the line of duty.

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  5. LOVE getting to do research like this and who knew dogs could have business cards?! LOL. LOVE it. Can't wait to dive into this one, Kate. Best of luck with all you've got going on!

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  6. Since I work for the police department, I'm especially excited to read your series, Kate. How great that Officer Hilton gave you the behind the scene tour. The relationship between and officer and their K-9 is special. Congratulations on this series!

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    1. Thank you, Jill. Wow! I hope I got all the details correct!

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    2. Thanks for the vote of confidence! :-D

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  7. I have learned lot about K9 dogs . They are professional trained doing their job , to protected citizens . I looking forward to read Kate books

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    1. Thank you, Terri. The service dogs do have an important (and dangerous) job to do, and are very well trained for it. I look forward to hearing how you enjoyed the books!

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  8. Kate, I'm so looking forward to reading your series. I haven't had a dog in a while, but especially love the service dogs of all kinds. We often have people out by our Barnes and Noble who have trained dogs to help people with physical handicaps. I love to stop and talk to them. And I love hearing how some military dogs are retired and now live with their handlers. Some of those dogs have medals, too.

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    1. Dogs are amazing creatures, aren't day. They can detect cancer, alert owners to impending seizures, calm children in courtrooms, and help with all sorts of psychological issues, such as post-traumatic stress disorder. The second book in the trilogy, When Love Matters Most, features K-9 sergeant Rick Vasquez, and his narcotics dog, Sniff. They do drug counseling in schools. His love interest, Madison Long, has a malamute. He's a therapy dog, and they volunteer to work with palliative care patients and sick kids in a hospital.

      If you ever want a doggie fix, Harley and Logan would be happy to help out!

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  9. What a wonderful series! As an author, dog lover, advocate of service dogs, and the wife of a State Trooper, I am so excited to read these! Wonderful subjects and I'm sure all the research was fun and enlightening! Congrats!

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    1. Can I assume you have five Siberian Huskies? I had to enlarge your bio pic! They look beautiful. I had two Huskies when I was in university. They were a very important part of my life for nearly fifteen years.

      It sounds as if I should have reached out to you to do my research. Thank you so much for your interest in the books. I would love to hear from you once you've read them!

      Thanks again, and happy reading . . . and writing!

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  10. What a great article. Thanks for sharing!

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    1. Thanks, Mel. I thought you might like the dog angle!

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  11. Sounds like a wonderful series, Kate.

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    1. Thank you, Marion. It was a lot of fun to write.

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  12. Kate! You're so clever to have plotted a series whose research surrounds you with what you love most! Sounds like three must-reads for me. About the dogs - is Max a particular breed? In Astoria we have a German Shepherd K-9 officer named Justice (they had a contest among school children to name him.)

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    1. There's generally method in my madness!

      Max was born in the Czech Republic on December 12th, 2008. He emigrated to Canada in March of 2011. He's a German Shepherd.

      I love the idea of a contest for school children to name a police service dog. I really like the name Justice, too. I might have to work it into the third book in the trilogy, since we're not at the AA stage yet!

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    2. All right! Happy to make a contribution!

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  13. This book sounds amazing and I'm so jealous of your research duties! What an awesome thing to be able to do. I love all things canine...and feline...and equine. Okay, I love animals, but I especially admire the bond between K-9's and their handlers. Dogs are so incredibly smart...well, except for my little Chihuahua who thinks he's bigger than a car. Lucky for him, I also have a border collie that runs in between him and any approaching car barking until the car stops or the little one runs back to the house. (We live out in the country and have a very long driveway.)
    I can't wait to read all 3 books!

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    1. Oh, LeAnne, I am so glad your little Chihuahua has his own protector. My husband will tell you that I am over-protective of our dogs, but things like that scare me. I don't know if you've seen this post of how our current dogs came to be with us: http://heartwarmingauthors.blogspot.ca/2014/09/a-dogs-life-by-kate-james-and.html

      Although they are very sweet, good-natured and smart dogs, and they've come a long way since they adopted us, they still have some idiosyncrasies from having grown up in kennels. Harley has a little switch in his head that goes off whenever he sees a butterfly. If you heard him cry while he's chasing it, you'd think we were torturing him. The scary thing for me is that when he gets into that zone, everything else ceases to exist. We've temporarily fenced the "groomed " part of our property (we live in the country, as well), to keep him from running onto the road or over a steep incline overlooking the forest in the back.

      Thank you for your kind words about the books. I would love to hear from you after you've had a chance to read them.

      Tail wags to your pups from Harley and Logan!

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  14. Kate, as you know, I only have four precious pages of your book left to read. TRULY I could not put it down. I highly, highly recommend it to everyone. I adore dogs and love writing about them almost more than about humans. Dogs are just so much fun. The research you did for this series is phenomenal and it really shows. Absolutely a terrific book! FIVE STARS!

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    1. Catherine, thank you so very much for the kind words, your friendship and your support! That's high praise from such a talented author and someone who shares my love of animals. Thanks again!

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  15. Much thanks to everyone who stopped by and left a comment.

    The winner of a signed copy of WHEN THE RIGHT ONE COMES ALONG is FiveSibsMom!

    Please e-mail me at kate@kate-james.com with your mailing address.

    Best wishes and happy reading!

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    1. I am SO thrilled! What a great way to start my day, seeing I won your book! I can't wait to read it!!! In the word of my Huskies, "woo!"

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    2. I am glad to be able to contribute to a positive start to your day!

      Only a single "woo?" There's a Malamute in book two of the trilogy, and he sounds very much like my Malamute did: "whoo, hoo!"

      Happy reading!

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  16. Incredible and interesting research, Kate! Great post and I can't wait to read the books!!

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