GARY | K-9 & Family Time, an organization started by Officer Mike Miller of the Gary Police Department Reserves, recently held a demonstration at Pittman Square Park in Gary.
Youngsters from Gary, Merrillville and Valparaiso gathered to watch the dogs perform and learn about canine training.
The purpose of the event was to express the importance of obedience in the school, homes and in the community, Miller said.
“K-9 & Family Time is a nonprofit organization with the intent to express obedience with the training of the dogs. This was our first event.
"We are trying to raise funds in order to have a building to house our students, along with our dogs and supplies. This organization will be open to any student within Northwest Indiana.”
Participants came from the Crown Point and Lake Station police departments, Amazing Grace Kennels and a Gary dog training program.
Addressing youngsters ages 7 to 19 about drugs and gangs was Tom Branson, of the Lake County Sheriff’s Department, and Chelsea Whittington, of Gary Mayor Karen Freeman-Wilson’s staff.
Participants asked questions about how long it takes to train the dogs, where the dogs’ names got their names and where the dogs came from, how dogs find drugs and when dogs are considered to be too old to serve.
Cpl. Jeff Eldridge, of the Crown Point Police Department, and his K-9 partner, Buddy, demonstrated how to sit, come and attack on command in two different languages.
Mike Smith, a Lake Station officer, put his K-9 partner through the paces, while Tina Graham, from Amazing Grace Kennels in Lowell, demonstrated obedience and therapy training with two dogs.
“The youth were able to interact with all of the dogs,” Miller said.
The youths also received a free lunch and other free supplies from various agencies.
Donations can be made to K-9 & Family Time through any Chase Bank. Contact K-9 & Family Time CEO Mike Miller at (219) 629-2513.