BY SHERI TRUSTY
Where’s Aldo? He’s in a Port Clinton Police Department (PCPD) cruiser sitting next to his handler, Officer Amy Pugh, waiting to sniff, search, track or apprehend at a moment’s notice.
Aldo – his full name is Aldo Rose – is the new K9 officer on the PCPD. Aldo, a Belgian Malinois from the Czech Republic, will celebrate his second birthday on Jan. 1. He joined the PCPD force in August after Pugh spent six weeks training with him at Shallow Creek Kennel in Pennsylvania.
“It was the hardest training I’ve ever gone through in my life,” she said.
When she returned, Pugh became the first female K9 dog handler in Ottawa County.
It was a long road getting there. Pugh’s first obstacle to becoming a K9 handler was funding. Fully trained police dogs are expensive and are not funded with tax dollars, so Pugh had to find the funds to purchase a dog.
“I asked the community for donations and did a t-shirt fundraiser,” she said.
Pugh received additional financial assistance from Port Clinton Eagles 2295 and an anonymous donor. Each donated $15,000 to help Pugh purchase a dog.
“In honor of the Eagles, Aldo’s badge number is 2295,” Pugh said. “The anonymous donor jokingly said she wanted me to name the dog after Rose Hickman, the wife of former Police Chief Rob Hickman. I thought that was a good idea, so I named him Aldo Rose, like Axle Rose.”
With a new name and a new home, Aldo is ready to get to work in Port Clinton. He is trained in narcotics detection, searching, tracking and apprehension. Pugh continues his training for a minimum of 16 hours each month.
“I’m continually doing training with him,” Pugh said.
Aldo goes on patrol with Pugh, and he was already called to do a search at Oak Harbor High School. But most days, he’s just being the happy, affection-loving pup who bolsters the already strong connection between the community and the police department.
“He is such a good fit for our community because he’s really social. Our community is so small, and they really love us,” Pugh said. “He’s a great partner and a good mascot, really.”
Pugh is grateful for the many donations that helped bring Aldo to Port Clinton.
“Whether it was a $5 donation or a $15,000 donation, the support meant so much to us,” she said.