After a decade of trips onto the trails and into the woods around Carlton County, Department of Natural Resources (DNR) K9 Schody is finally getting a rest.
On Dec. 31, 2020 Schody will officially retire from the DNR after a decade of diligent work. K9 Schody is a German shepherd who alongside his human partner, Conservation Officer Scott Staples, has worked to protect and promote the natural resources of Minnesota. “Schody is very fortunate to go to 10 years – he really is – but he’s starting to suffer from a disease right now and it’s time for him to retire and just be a house dog, although he hates it probably just as much as I do,” said Staples.
Staples and Schody are one of six K9 and Officer DNR teams in the state. Through extensive and constant training DNR K9’s learn to help locate critical evidence that helps public safety partners, rescue people who are lost in the woods, stop people who break game and fish laws and delight countless numbers of people visiting the natural wonders of the Minnesota. All DNR K9’s are trained to be able to sniff out lost people, fish and game, firearms and spent ammunition. Three DNR K9’s are also trained to specifically smell zebra mussels.
With Schody’s retirement, Conservation Officer Staples will begin the extensive 16 week training program in February to bring on new DNR K9 Fennec. After this initial training Staples and Fennec, a German shepherd just like Schody, will continually train just like all of the other K9 unit dogs and handlers.
The adjustment will not be easy for either Staples or Schody. Instead of the duo hopping in the truck together every day, Schody will have to get used to Fennec heading out with Staples to work while he continues living with Staples and his family.
“It’s going to be sad,” Staples said. “For the last 10 years, he’s gotten into that pickup truck with me. He’s going to hate to stay at home. So I think I’m probably going to have to wean him off of that a little bit – take him with to work every once in a while just to keep him thinking he’s still the big dog around the house.”