Some puppies are becoming police officers.
Every two to three years, the city and county of Roanoke invests in K-9's from around the world. They're shipped to Roanoke to replace the dogs that go into retirement or die, but there’s a lot of work to be done by the both the dog and handler before they are sent out to work.
K-9 training is centered around a toy.
"It's as important as your paycheck that you get every two weeks,” said Officer Randall Cox with the Roanoke City Police Department. “That's all they work for. They work for our praise and their toys."
The new K-9's are prepping for the next several years of their careers during 10 weeks of school.
"It's like raising children,” said Roanoke City Police Officer Kent Daniel. “Everyone is different, they act differently, they respond to different toys, they like different food so it's like trying to raise a child."
Jabbo, Odin, Gunner and Ritcher are new to Roanoke, but they are already learning the ropes.
"They hate it when we're off for a weekend because they just want to be at work,” said Cox. “That's what they live to do."
For the dogs, it’s all about keeping their noses on the ground and their eyes on the mission.
"Their noses are 400 times greater than ours for smell, but the ground disturbance is what they key on," said Kent.
Eight weeks ago, these dogs didn't know how to sit and now they know almost everything they need to know to help fight crime.
They know nine odors of explosives, four odors of narcotics and they know how to track a person for miles.
“It's just incredible," said Cox.
The K-9's are expected to graduate on August 22. Each K-9 has a department value of around $40,000.
This year’s class of graduates is special. Since 1999, Roanoke has only had one bomb dog on the force, but when Gunner graduates, they will have two.
The new K-9’s will replace two dogs that were retired and one dog that passed away.