Veterinary sciences class meets with K-9 dog, handler

Bellefonte Area School District  |  Posted on

Porter, a black lab, was a hunting dog from Texas. He was tasked with tracking ducks and bringing them back to his owner. But while Porter was phenomenal at tracking the waterfowl, he needed improvement bringing the animal back in one piece.

That’s why a new skill was taught to the 6-year-old dog that now works as an explosive detection and deterrence dog with K-9 handler Daniel Sandoval of K2 Solutions. He’s tasked with tracking explosive ordnances such as black powder, C-4 and more. Together, they go to various events making sure the possibility of threats is eliminated. Some of those events include sporting events with the MLB, NBA and NHL; concerts at large stadiums and arenas; and more. The latest event the duo worked was the Super Bowl in Inglewood, CA.

What makes Porter the ideal dog for the job is his demeanor, Sandoval said. Labradors are gentle, friendly breeds with a keen sense of smell. They are what Sandoval said are the perfect dog to be in crowds.

On March 4, Porter and Sandoval stopped by Bellefonte Area High School to work with the veterinary sciences class taught by Myken Poorman, in addition to connecting with students interested in pursuing a similar career. Organized by the district’s K-12 gifted instructor, she said she was inspired to help bring in a friend who worked in the field after working with her enrichment students in a unit where they studied a case in which a dog was trained to find trapped dolphins along the coast.

With a slow rollout of allowing more guests to the school since the pandemic previously restricted it, Sandoval was able to come in and work with students firsthand helping teach them more about how dogs and handlers are trained, the work they do, the potential of different careers and more. Sandoval was formally part of the K-9 unit in the Army and now works in the private sector, and calls Porter not only a colleague, but member of his family as the dog also lives with him. “When the vest is off, he’s just another dorky dog who won’t listen to me,” Sandoval said with a laugh, adding that the vest Porter wears identifies him as a working dog. “When the vest is on, it’s back to business.”