Visit the State Capitol in St. Paul, and you'll find a lot of busy Republicans, Democrats, and Independents running around. But it's not just politicians with important work to do. A K-9 named Matka, who's new to the capitol, sniffs everyone from all sides of the political spectrum.
Animal Humane Society's Government Relations and Community Engagement Officer Kathy Mock also spends a lot of time in Saint Paul lobbying for Minnesota’s companion animals. When she heard a dog was actually working at the capitol, she had to meet her. Little did she know, sweet Matka has some impressive credentials.
Matka is the Minnesota State Patrol’s bomb sniffing dog. She’s a 4-year-old Hungarian Vizla who doesn’t look like your standard police dog. Forget the German Shepherd and Belgian Malinois types — how about a pup who has super soft fur and big floppy ears!
The police dog roams the halls of the State Capitol every day with her partner, Trooper Kaj Meinhardt. A typical day involves arriving at the capitol in the morning, patrolling the building and taking little time outs for breaks, lunch, and a dog nap. Their daily routine also involves practicing sniffing out explosive scents, which Trooper Meinhardt hides throughout the building to keep her nose fresh.
But Matka is more than just a cute pup with a great schnauze. She’s gone through extensive explosive detection training through the MSP Airport K-9 unit and regularly trains with explosive detection K-9s from other agencies throughout the state. By policy, she’s required to get certified by the USPCA on a yearly basis.
The Hungarian born pup who is full of energy and quite energetic, knows exactly what her job is: find the “trained odors and ignore the distraction odors” so she can get rewarded with her favorite squeaky toy.
When the two are on a hunt, “it’s important that she be focused on finding scents. She needs to ignore everything around her and focus on the task at hand,” Meinhardt says.
So far, there have been no incidents at the Capitol since the two came on board in January, and they hope to keep it that way. “Our job is to keep everyone who comes to the Capitol safe, and together that’s our goal every day," Meinhardt adds.
Want to see what Matka does every day at the Capitol? Follow her at @K9Matka on Twitter.
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