Lucas was just eyeing the back door, thinking seriously about exiting the cop’s house and being done with this entire rescue, when Beef came back into the den a hundred-dollar bill in hand. “I know it’s not much,” he said. “But to show my appreciation for bring my dog home, how does one hundred sound to you, Lucas?”
One-hundred dollars? Lucas thought. One-hundred as a reward? The insult alone would just kill Uncle Nate! If the club ever finds out about me messing up his ten-thousand dollar deal over this dog, and then getting one-hundred from this cop who owned him, Nate will be the laughingstock of the Den! Dad would shove this in his face for a long time to come! Oh, this is rich, really rich!
To Beef, he hesitantly said, “Naw, I don’t think I deserve a reward for just doing what’s right.”
Beef extended his hand, offering the crisp bill to him. “Look, I already know that whoever stole Lobo did so for a reason. How or why you thwarted their plans is way beyond me. I know only that you had the heart to bring my dog back, and for that I owe you, Lucas. I’m not saying you know anything about the devious plans of these two men, but I am saying you did a good thing by bringing Lobo home.”
Lucas took the hundred-dollar bill, slipping it into his front pocket of his jeans. “Thanks. Thanks a lot, Officer.”
“Beef,” he said. “Just call me Beef. May I ask you a question? This deed that you did today, is it going to get you into any kind of trouble? I mean, these men—”
“I told you,” Lucas interrupted him, “I had no run in with these two men. I only found Lobo down at the ballfield. I’ll be fine.”
He turned to go, when the photos of Lobo and all his awards caught his eye. “Can I ask you a question, Officer?”
“Sure,” Beef said. “Go for it. Ask away.”
Lucus held back a moment, not certain his dad would approve of him talking so openly with a cop.
He then asked, “Did it take a lot of training to teach Lobo?”
Looking proudly at the array of awards won by Lobo during his ten-year career, Beef said, “It’s fascinating what most sniffer dogs are capable of. A detection dog is trained to detect explosives, drugs, money, or blood. Some cadaver dogs are trained to search for human remains. Some dogs used in drug raids are trained not only to locate drugs, but also persons. In recent years, detection dogs have been trained to search for crime evidence, firearms, cell phones, plants, animals, bed bugs, cancerous tumors in humans. One notable quality of detection dogs is that they are able to discern individual scents even when the scents are combined or masked by other odors.
“In an Australian prison, a dog foiled an attempt to smuggle drugs that had been hidden in a woman’s bra and smeared with coffee, pepper, and Vapo-rub. A sniffer dog can detect blood even if it has been scrubbed off surfaces. And then there is nosework.
“Nosework is a sport that mimics professional detection tasks. One dog and one handler form a team. The dogs must find a hidden target odor and alert the handler. After the dog finds the odor they are rewarded. Nosework is a sport involving dogs with behavior problems. Not that Lobo ever had behavioral issues, but since the DEA picked him up from Pine Ridge rez, they suggested I use this to better control him before taking him into the field.
“There is an increase in time spent with the dog while using nose-work. Time spent interacting with your dog will help form a stronger bond between the dog and his handler. It’s why Lobo is a multitasker. He’s not only adept at sniffing out drugs and explosives, he’s good at sniffing out humans, as well. In fact, I couldn’t have asked for a better dog for all his past tasks.”
Lucas stood there contemplating his words. “Is it true that two police departments in the US have adopted pit bulls as service dogs?”
“Yes,” Beef said. “I personally know the handler in Chicago who saved a pit from being put down, and trained it to be a great sniffer. Pits are extremely loyal and very willing to please their handlers.”
Without meaning to say it, Lucas said, “My uncle has a pit.”
He stopped, unwilling to reveal any more than that about the notorious killer pit his Uncle Nate forced into the circuit. Beef noted his sudden silence, and asked, “Is he a good dog?”
“He has the potential to be,” Lucas said, yet thinking, If Uncle Nate hadn’t thrown him to the fights, where he’s killed over twenty other dogs in his time as champion.
Lucas said, “Where could I learn how to train dogs? Or am I too young to do that?”
Beef laughed. “Never too young to have a passion for something as important as dog training. Do you see these CD’s over there on my rack? They are a series put out by my friend Jim Osorio, director of Canine Encounters. He not only teaches cops how to deal with aggressive dogs, he has a section in there on a group of bright young kids who have won dozens of awards in contests involving dogs of various breeds, Shepherds, Dobies, Rotts, and even Pits.”
He crossed the den and removed the collection of CD’s. “I’ll let you borrow these. Watch them and learn, Lucas. Just wait right here. I’ll find something for you to carry them home in.”
When he returned to the den, Beef carried an old gym bag with him. He handed it to Lucas, and then placed the CD collection inside the bag, zipping it closed for good measure. “There, that should do to carry them in. Once you think you learned something, come back and we can try it on Lobo. Deal?”
Lucas nodded. “Deal,” he said, knowing he would have to sneak them past his dad when he got home, for Stone would never approve of Lucas becoming that familiar with a cop.
A moment later, the door bell rang and Beef left Lucas and Lobo in the den to go answer his front door.