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Canine honored for community work

Stutsman County Sheriff's Deputy Matt Thom is shown with Dreamos, the sheriff's office canine officer. John M. Steiner / Sun File Photo

The first canine unit dog to serve with Stutsman County Sheriff’s Office recently received two state awards for its service.

Dreamos, a Belgian Malinois and the canine deputy for the Stutsman County Sheriff’s office, received the Working Award during the Pet of the Year Awards on Aug. 7 at the North Dakota Veterinary Medical Association’s 112th annual meeting in Bismarck. Dreamos was also inducted into the the organization’s Animal Hall of Fame.

The annual awards program honors animals and caregivers who exemplify the strength and value of the human-animal connection. Dreamos was nominated for the award by Dr. Dawn Entzminger of Dr. Dawn's Pet Stop in Jamestown.

Deputy Sgt. Matt Thom, who is Dreamos’ handler, said the award is a bonus along with the satisfaction he gets from the two of them doing the job.

“The reward to me is going out there and working with the dog on the street and actually finding drugs and catching suspects,” Thom said.

Thom said being a handler is a 24-hour job. The dog is with him at home, on patrol and at work, he said.

The two are constantly training and it is a challenge to slowly coax a dog to learn something using one-way communication, he said. Dogs also have personalities and there are good days and bad days, he said.

The bond that the two share makes everything work, he said.

“Dreamos is not just my dog, he is my partner,” Thom said.

Stutsman County Sheriff Chad Kaiser, who was present to receive the award on behalf of Dreamos and Thom, said the award was a great honor.

“It definitely was an honor just to have Dr. Dawn put us in for the Working Award,” Kaiser said.

Dreamos is the first canine to be put into service with Stutsman County Sheriff’s Department, Kaiser said. The dog was acquired by the Sheriff’s Department from a Texas trainer in April 2015, he said.

Kaiser said he recognized the need for a K-9 dog with the Sheriff’s Office when he was a deputy. The effort just never got off the ground until Thom showed ability and interest, he said.

“The funding and everything else all came together after that,” Kaiser said.

Thom trained with Dreamos for a year before the dog was put into service, Kaiser said. The two have since become a great addition as a tool for the department, he said.

Dreamos is trained in narcotics detection and patrol functions and was selected for the award in part for his role in seizing illegal drugs and paraphernalia, as well as helping locate individuals attempting to evade capture by law enforcement, according to the Veterinary Medical Association. In his two years of service, Dreamos has assisted the Sheriff’s Office and other law enforcement agencies with locating and seizing illegal drugs and paraphernalia on numerous occasions. This included alerting law enforcement to 16 pounds of marijuana valued at $100,000 in a car during a traffic stop this year.

Entzminger said Dreamos is a hard-working dog that has performed a real service to the community. Not all dogs are bred for canine unit work, and Dreamos has the right instincts, passed all the tests and has a strong drive to work, she said.

“He just lives to work,” Entzminger said. “Dreamos is very bonded with Deputy Thom and he loves to work.”