It was great seeing you again at the K9 Conference in Las Vegas, Nevada this past March.
In January of 2006, the Bensalem Township Police Department (PA) approved the purchase of my new drug dog and I met with you to chose my new partner. I saw a lot of great dogs, but one small female sable shepherd really grabbed my attention. She was level headed and had a crazy drive that never quit. Bona was renamed Kirby and we hit the ground running. Within two months, she passed her USPCA certification and we returned to our position on the DEA Task Force in Philadelphia. She grabbed the attention of federal and local law enforcement and developed into the go-to dog. The DEA moved Kirby and I to the DEA Drug interdiction team where she was responsible for the largest drug seizure by a K9 at the Philadelphia International Airport when she alerted to 46 kilograms of cocaine separated among three suitcases. Kirby consistently worked luggage, parcels and freight interdiction along with assisting other local and federal law enforcement agencies in the tri-state area of Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Delaware. Kirby’s success earned me the opportunity to become Bensalem Township’s certified drug dog trainer and opened the door to several other opportunities. In 2012, the American Kennel Club awarded her their 2012 Award for Canine Excellence (ACE Award) and she appeared on the AKC/ Eukanuba Dog show to receive the award. The German Shepherd Dog Club of American also honored her at their 100 Anniversary show.
Kirby never faltered and never failed me during her career. When she reached the age of 10 1/2, she was responsible for the seizure of approximately $105 million in drugs and drug tainted currency. In June of 2014, after 8 strong years, I felt she proved how priceless a great drug dog could be and I let her go out on top of her game. Kirby is now 11 1/2 and is loving retirement. She spends her days on my couch and looks forward to vacations in her RV. I raised my new partner, Karma, and she is working hard to keep Kirby’s legacy going.
Thank you for the opportunity to be the handler of a priceless dog.
Det. Christine Kelliher #22207
Bensalem Township Police Department (PA) Drug Dog Handler/Trainer DEA Task Force – Interdiction Group 31