Conroe – Don't let their wagging tales deceive you! On Tuesday, a warehouse full of playful dogs, were actually hardworking, life saving canines, with noses that can find the most dangerous explosives there are.
Raphael Martinez, with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, is town from Virginia for the week, training canine teams from the region.
"They're the first line of defense in the use of explosives by terrorists or criminals," explained Martinez.
Kyle Butler, a special agent explosive specialist out of Houston, and his partner RJ are among those going through training.
"He's always ready to work. I am constantly amazed," Butler said referring to RJ, an explosives detection canine. "I've had my dog find a shotgun barrel in a 75-acre field."
Butler and RJ are among the twenty-six teams spending the week getting special ATF training.
"When they leave here they'll have a certification saying that they've been exposed to the majority of the explosives that are out there," Butler explained.
During the training, a trace amount of ten different odors are hidden among metal cans. Once the dogs are able to recognize all of the scents, they should be able to detect chemical compounds that make up 19,000 explosive formulas.
The canines, like RJ, are used at top events across the country.
"We've worked Super Bowls, Republican and Democratic National Conventions," said Butler. "I've been called out many times when a school thought they have a gun on the premises or possibly a pipe bomb on the premises. We deploy and search the school and attempt to find out."
When RJ's not on the clock, this lifesaver is just a regular pup.
"He will lay on the couch and can find the most irritating toy to play with and squeak it all night!" Butler jokes. V
But by morning, he's back to finding threats hidden to humans.
"They are an invaluable tool. He's a good companion a good partner."