Bidding on a Childhood Dream
By: Tamra Strentz
When #13 Canine Unit Ride-Along came up for bid at the 2015 SASF Raining Cats & Dogs Auction, Peter was ready. The draw was a combination of realizing a boyhood dream to be a “detective” in his homeland of South Australia and a love of dogs. As a young child, Rin Tin Tin and Adam 12 were his favorite TV shows and he and his brother would recreate crime solving scenarios in their childhood play. Flash forward and Peter now works in technology field, but his childhood aspirations of solving crime still linger and after meeting Seattle Police Canine Handler Officer Mark Wong and K-9 Ziva at the auction that night, he knew what he had to do.
When the auctioneer Mark Schenfeld kicked off, Peter jumped into the bidding fray. Up and up the bids climbed to support the animals at the Seattle Animal Shelter and at the end of the bidding, Peter had not won. But all was not lost. Auctioneer Mark came over to the table and offered Peter the opportunity to secure a night out with a Seattle Police Canine team if he’d match the final bid. I remember Peter looking over at his partner Nicole, who gave him a nod and the deal was sealed. Our table cheered as did others. Peter would ride and it was a night he will never forget.
From high speed responses through downtown to reports of gunshots fired to break ins–or sending Ziva in pursuit of a suspect who had fled a crime scene, and chasing down a missing Starbucks tip jar–to running training exercises for Ziva during down time, the Canine team with Peter riding shotgun, covered ground from Sodo to Northgate to Capitol HIll and destinations in between. It was a fascinating and memorable experience for Peter. ”One of the biggest learnings was seeing first-hand the challenges and ride range of issues our police face night after night. Most of the crime tended to attributed to drugs or alcohol, and as I live in Belltown, I see some of that when I take my dog out for a night walk or from the window of my condo, but riding with the Canine team provides an entirely different perspective,” said Peter. ”Especially how much ground our police cover in one shift and the countless cases they are asked to respond to. While I’ve always had respect for police, this night just reinforced that and made me thankful for folks like Officer Wong and Ziva are committed to the residents of Seattle and law enforcement.”
The Canine Unit Ride-Along will be back on the auction block on October 8th and promises to deliver a one-of-a-kind experience and first-hand encounter with a Seattle Police Canine Team as respond to needs all across the city. Ready to ride along?