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How Louisiana stray dog ​​transformed into sought-after K-9 narcotics officer in Delaware County

Radnor Township’s narcotics dog, Onyx, has come a long way since he was found as a stray in Louisiana at five months old. His handler, Officer Brett Greaves, said he was in serious condition.

‘He was mangy. Probably 50 or 60 pounds. So he’s definitely put on weight since he was a landmark,” Officer Greaves said.

Onyx ended up at Char-Wills German Shepherd Rescue, in Schuylkill County. The founder, Diane Buhl, saw the puppy’s potential and contacted Officer Greaves and his family, who had fostered numerous dogs with them over the years.

“He wasn’t afraid of anything. He was nice and liked to play with the ball,” Buhl explained. “Those are three things you normally look for in any type of working dog.” Bühl explained.

Officer Greaves continued, “It was just a few days after Diane contacted us. We set up a kind of foster home to stand trial with him and that’s how it was: we bonded immediately.”

The 16-year police veteran knew Onyx had the drive to become a police K-9 and went to Chief Chris Flannagan with his proposal for Onyx to join their K-9 unit.

Officer Greaves said: “It was a risk. We had the cards against us. It was not a dog brought in from Europe. It’s not a $15,000 investment for the department. It was a free dog.”

“It was an unusual knock on the door. He came and said I have a dog that I rescued and he said this dog has the drive to be an excellent police K-9,” Chief Flannagan explained .

After being assessed by a veterinarian and the Philadelphia K-9 Unit, Officer Greaves and Onyx completed six months of training in December 2019: first patrol school and then narcotics. In June 2020 they were working on the streets.

“The dog exceeded everyone’s expectations and, quite frankly, Officer Greaves and the bond they had,” Flannagan said.

Onyx is a busy boy who helps with major drug busts throughout the area. “He does a lot of work for the Attorney General’s Office, the US Postal Inspector, DEA. He is in high demand,” Officer Greaves noted. “A lot of dogs need a purpose. They need a job, whether it’s search and rescue or narcotics. When they have a job, they live a fulfilling life and it gave him a second chance.”

Many dogs need a purpose. They need a job, whether it’s search and rescue or narcotics. If they have a job, they live a fulfilling life and that gave him a second chance.”

Buhl says she isn’t surprised by the dog’s success. “There are many dogs that, given the right conditions and commitment, can work. We have been trying to tell police forces and groups this for years.”

Perhaps Onyx’s story will open up possibilities for other dogs who, like him, had a rough start.

Officer Greaves is just happy that it all worked out: ‘I think it’s great. It’s a nice twist on his story. It took a lot of work and it paid off.”

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