Deputy Owen Gore loves dogs. It’s evident in the way he talks about his former dog Hunter, who died in April, and his current canine partner Stryker.
Stryker and Gore spent eight weeks and more than 400 hours together training. As a result the two learned to work as a team and more importantly — last week — Stryker qualified as an Explosive K-9.
The two completed field trials Nov. 17 under the watchful eyes of Bryant Arrington, a Master Trainer for the Virginia State Police K-9 association, and an officer with the Culpeper Sheriff’s Office. Now the two are qualified to participate in K-9 searches for the Culpeper County Sheriff’s Office.
Stryker came to Culpeper via the Czech Republic. According to Gore, the bloodlines for dogs from the Republic are more documented and as a result better dogs come from the area. Arrington picked Stryker from a group brought to the United States for law enforcement use. Stryker, in Arrington’s expert opinion, was the best fit for the Culpeper Sheriff’s Office and he brought the dog here.
Stryker and Gore tested in different environments, from a static wall test for explosives to an active building search, in the qualification process held last week on a brisk autumn day. The field examination took hours.
Deputy Gore still misses Hunter but Stryker seems to have captured the young officer’s affection.
Gore originally started his law enforcement career in the Orange County Sheriff’s Office. But the Culpeper native wanted to return home and in 2008 he joined the Culpeper Sheriff’s Office. He started out working as a patrol deputy but his goal was to become a K-9 officer. In 2011 he achieved that goal with Hunter.
With Stryker as his partner Gore says he is looking forward to returning as an active K-9 team. While he misses Hunter, and says he is grateful for the support shown to him from the community upon the dog’s passing, he is excited about the future with Stryker.