RENO, NV - Sergeant James McNeill and his dog Jacob are a team.
McNeill has had the 6-year-old Malinois for two years now; the dog works in patrol and bomb-sniffing operations.
He even has his own badge.
”They have to earn it. They don't just get it given to them. They have to earn it. That's a lot of hard work on the handler's part and also on the dog's part,” Sergeant McNeill says.
Jacob is originally from Holland, which is why the sergeant has to communicate with him in Dutch.
Such dogs can cost initially $14,000 dollars and by the time they have enough training and time under their fur--they can be worth twice as much.
But what Jacob brings to McNeill's world is priceless.
“Aren't just our partners, they are our brothers and sisters, you know they'd give their life for us without hesitating,” says the sergeant.
Jacob is Sergeant McNeill's second K-9 partner.
His last dog Zak died of a similar condition which took the life of Reno canine Xero.
With ongoing training and working together, McNeill says he had hoped to offer Zak a comfortable retirement, but it was not to be
He says his condolences go out to Xero's trainer--McNeill says the loss is indescribable.
“He was an exceptional dog. I think he will be sorely missed at Reno. It will be a big paw print left to fill,” says McNeilll.