EagleHerald staff writer

MARINETTE—Founded in 1792, “The Old Farmer’s Almanac” traditionally places the “Dog Days” of summer within the months of July and August. During that period Sirius, the Dog Star, precedes the morning sunrise on the eastern horizon, portending the stifling humidity and temperatures of the Northern hemisphere’s hottest days of the year in the Northern Hemisphere.

But on Saturday animated and numerous members of the Canis lupus familiaris species trotted down to the City of Marinette REC Center, with their humans in tow, to celebrate with an outpouring of community support for two of the city’s very own, and newest ‘dog stars,’ named Tuko and Bady.

Put another way and in slightly less excessive verbiage: more than 130 area residents decked out in tennis shoes, shorts and T-shirts with their dogs at heel took part in the Marinette Police Department’s (MPD) fourth annual MPD-K9 5K Run/Walk Saturday morning.

MPD Chief Nick LaCombe offered words of gratitude to those who registered and turned out at an event, which provides significant support for the community-funded K9 unit. Throughout the year various donations and events such as Saturday’s run/walk help the department raise funds to supply all necessary provisions for the unit such as the training, feeding and equipment. That support keeps Marinette’s four-legged protectors in tip-top shape.

“100% of the funds raised from (Saturday’s run/walk event) go directly to the K9 unit,” LaCombe said. “The unit is 100% donation-funded; there is no money from the city that goes into (the K9 unit). And MPD really thanks the community for their support of this event … the dogs are really important to us, and it wouldn’t be possible without that support.”

Just prior to the run/walk a brief demonstration of the unit in action demonstrated the magnitude of important and unique talents that K9’s Tuko and Bady bring to the MPD, such as a veritable chemical sensor perched at the tip of their snout: the dog nose.

By some estimates, a dog’s sense of smell is 10,000 to 100,000 times more powerful than the human’s, according to a statement from James Walker, a former director at the Sensory Research Institute of Florida State University. He made that statement for a story for the PBS (Public Broadcasting Service) series NOVA in 2012. It allows them to distinguish odors that are present in the parts per trillion.

“(Tuko and Bady) are dual-purpose K-9s so they are narcotics detection, personnel protection and they can track and locate people who flee or to find missing people, based on scent and odor,” LaCombe said.

Leading the dogs through the demonstration were their human partners: Sgt. Matt Borths teamed with Tuko and patrol officer Derrik Maye paired with Bady.

Tuko is a German Shepherd/Belgian Malinowski mix while Bady is a Belgian Malinois. According to the National Police Dog Foundation, the German Shephard and the Belgian Malinois are among the most popular breeds utilized in K9 units. Both breeds represent extremely intelligent animals possessing a high-energy work ethic, making them a great companion when it comes to getting the job done.

In addition to events like the 5K, the K9 unit also receives significant support from businesses Mighty Pet and Fromm Fuels who both sponsored this year’s run/walk.

Coming up on August 13, an MPD-hosted golf outing event will provide residents another opportunity to show their support for the unit.