An unlikely bond: Professional K-9 breaks puppy protocol

    K-9 makes friends with cat (Cullman County Sheriff's Office)

    The Cullman County Sheriff's Office says one of their deputies formed an unlikely bond recently.

    Tommy is a Belgian Malinois that serves alongside deputies as a drug detection K-9.

    The pup's partner Lt. Matthew Bales says law enforcement professionals have a special description for these types of dogs.

    "He's what we call a German shepherd on meth, he's wild," said Bales.

    Malinois are also known as "Mali-gators" because of the snapping of their jaws.

    "He pays attention to nothing but his job," said Bales.

    But when the day ends, Bales says they both clock out the same way, by going home to relax.

    Sheriff Matt Gentry says recent events have shown the pair is more alike than they thought.

    "The dogs and the handlers have to have similar personalities," said Gentry.

    Donley asked, "So are you saying he's a big softy?"

    "Oh yeah he's a big softy for sure, Lt. Bales is a softy for sure," said Gentry.

    The telltale sign of that came after Tommy had a visitor one morning.

    "My wife looked outside and said Matthew, there's a kitten inside Tommy's pen,” said Bales.

    He was able to get the small kitten out before anything happened to it.

    “[I was] afraid that he would eat the cat, basically,” said Bales.

    But soon after that, the Bales family discovered Tommy was breaking puppy protocol.

    “The cat and Tommy [were] laying down together inside the pen, so he pays it no attention. They’re like best friends," said Bales.

    These animals are a trusted part of our community, trained to do a tough job. But sometimes, even the toughest need some time off.

    “He keeps on getting in, and I keep trying to get him out,” said Bales.

    The sheriff's office plans to add two Blood Hounds to their team soon, both will become part of their tracking team. That will bring the total to four tracking dogs and four drugs dogs in the sheriff's kennel.

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