Among the many great items available for bid at the 2012 Seattle Animal Shelter Foundation Benefit Auction was an exciting opportunity to spend an evening riding along with Seattle Police Department Officer Mark Wong and Police Dog Ziva. (UPDATE: This item is again available for bidding at the 2013 Auction! Get details at our auction page here, and click on the “Live Auction” tab.)

The 2012 auction item winner, Mathias Jourdain, went on the ride-along, getting a memorable, up-close look at the SPD’s K-9 Unit in action. Here, in his own words, Mathias recounts the experience:

I spent a Friday evening with Officer Wong and police dog Ziva. I had bid on the K-9 ride-along because, working an office job at a computer all day, I thought this was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to learn about a very different workplace and observe for myself one of the most incredible canine professions. (That, and Ziva was very sociable at the auction gala.)

The evening exceeded all of my expectations. I got to ride along in a Ziva-friendly police cruiser and familiarize myself with all of the cool electronics in the car, including a device that scans the license plates of nearby cars as the cruiser rides down the street. Of course, I had many questions about Ziva’s work habits, pastimes, diet, and exercise regimen; Officer Wong answered all of them.

I learned about Ziva’s strict and intensive training program and watched her do a display of obedience that I think would humble many show dogs. I also jogged along with her for a half mile as she practiced tracking down a human scent.

But the best part was getting to tag along on a real case. It involved driving really, really fast with the sirens and lights on through North Seattle, observing patrol officers set up a containment zone in a part of upper Queen Anne, and following Officer Wong and P.D. Ziva as they scavenged the backyards and dark recesses of a residential area, tracking the suspect’s scent. In the end, they found the hiding suspect (for real!) and made an arrest. Had the pair not been there, I’m fairly sure the individual would have escaped, given how well he was hiding.

The evening was a blast. I can only hope it is the first of many partnerships between the SPD K-9 unit and the Foundation. Thank you to the Seattle Animal Shelter Foundation, the City of Seattle, and the Seattle Police Department.

Mathias’ generous gift to the Seattle Animal Shelter Foundation helps us to enrich and enhance the lives of animals cared for by the Seattle Animal Shelter. Please join him: Support SASF today.