At only 13 weeks old, Faye, a high-spirited golden retriever puppy trains for her important job with UAPD. She will soon have the chance to bring joy and energy to campus as she lets students pet and play with her. This high spirited 13-week-old golden retriever puppy is taking on a big job for a dog of her age and is eagerly training for her new job as a K9.
Officer Kara Wilder, Faye’s handler, is slowly teaching Faye basic commands like sit, lie down and stay, she said.
K-9 supervisor, Stg. Jeff Shetlar, trains the new K9s everyday with their handlers, he said.
“We don't do sit down, stay and come all in one day,” Shetlar said. “They learn each one separately and then we string them all together because the attention span of the puppies varies.”
Faye is learning commands everyday for about 15-20 minutes, Wilder said. She is learning the basic commands like how to sit, but the most important thing that Wilder wants the K9 to learn is how to be obedient around people, she said.
Training procedures include Shetlar working with the handlers on how to train the K9s correctly and to not overload the dogs with too much information, Shetlar said.
Students are welcome to watch the K9s train, if they call ahead first. The training takes place 9 a.m. every Tuesday at the Tyson Field, Shetlar said.
Faye will be the Community Outreach K9, a new position created by UAPD director Steve Gahagans, and will help to get students involved with UAPD, Wilder said.
Other cities have Community Outreach K9s and Wilder has looked to those cities as examples, she said.
“We’ve been doing research in the Dallas and Chicago areas for this role, and they used a similar dog to bring a community together,” Wilder said.
Faye will be at future events on campus to serve as a way for students to meet UAPD, Wilder said.
“We're going to want to bring her to outreach events and any time we use a program that the UAPD is involved with we’ll use her too,” Wilder said. “We’ll use her as a way to engage people.”.
Wilder wants to bring Faye on campus but does not know her schedule for the school year yet, Wilder said.
Faye makes the UAPD K9 Crew to five members now. There are now three K9s trained in explosives, one K9 trained in narcotics and now the Community Outreach K9, Faye.
Faye is from Ramiro Valencia, a local golden retriever breeder in Fayetteville, Wilder said.
Valencia thinks that the Community Outreach role will suit Faye because golden retrievers want to make everyone happy, he said.
“If you're feeling down or happy, they're there to support you,” Valencia said.
Students are encouraged to pet the K9s and all they have to do is ask, Shetlar said.
“We’ll have a student calling in who is homesick and just wants to pet the dogs, and we absolutely encourage that,” Shetlar said.
Soon Faye will be at events on campus for students to engage with her and UAPD, Wilder said.
“We’re going to try to have her at orientations and hopefully people will come say hi and get involved,” Wilder said.
The K9 Crew’s instagram is @uapdk9s and Valencia’s instagram is @the_golden_kennel.