On June 15th, the Barnesville Police Department Patrolman Andrew Stewart and K-9 Dixie responded to a call that resulted in Dixie's first biting apprehension. The case is currently open and prosecution is still pending. but Stewart said, "The call involved gunfire and hand-to-hand combat. Dixie acted courageously and performed her duties exactly as she's trained to, so we're all very proud of her."
Although unable to elaborate on the call, Stewart said he and Dixie were the only officers on duty that day and the first to respond to the call that "went from a normal call to an abnormal call quickly".
Stewart and Dixie have been working together since last October when he took over for her previous handler. "That’s one of the reasons that I am so proud of her,"Stewart said.
Stewart and Dixie train twice a month with the Police K-9 Association (PK9A) in Canton, Ohio. The all-day training is free, with the department only paying for transportation. He credited that training with Dixie’s success and the reason why she has not exhibited any aggression that can sometimes be shown in K-9s after their first bite apprehension.
"That’s whey we are so blessed to have the training, without it I know that call wouldn’t have gone as smoothly as it did," Stewart said.
In September of 2016, PK9A, founded in 1985, started commending one K-9/?handler for the "Catch of the Month" by handing out a PK9A inscribed Battlemug. The handler keeps the mug for a month and then it goes on to the next dynamic duo. Stewart said approximately 20 different departments train with PK9A, and many of those departments have anywhere from one to eight K9s, so the association leaders look at all the various apprehensions from that month and vote on whichever apprehension was the most extreme and deserving of the mug.
"Dixie and I were very humbled when we learned our apprehension was voted the ‘Catch of the Month’ for June," Stewart said. "It's an awesome feeling to have Dixie's first apprehension acknowledged in such a prestigious fashion."
In addition to the training, Stewart said PK9A also provided Dixie with a free, $300 collar made specially for K-9s.
Stewart and Dixie will also be receiving another donation this month as well. Ohio Going Blue, which crowd sources funds to purchase vests for K-9s, has purchased a new, $1,800, two-pound vest for Dixie. Stewart said it was built to her specifications and would be arriving soon. He said Dixie refused to work in her current vest which weights 10 pounds and was a burden and distraction for Dixie. Stewart said the head trainer at PK9A recommended Dixie for Ohio Going Blue’s donation.
Stewart is also in the process of designing "Dixie fan club" t-shirts to be sold as a fundraiser to continue to provide for her needs. Dixie was purchased by the Barnesville Police Department in 2014.