Cassville Police Chief Dana Kammerlohr and her K-9 Charka are rarely apart.
A dog door has been installed on the door to Kammerlohr's office at the Cassville Police Department, and Charka, a 7-year-old German Malinois, can be found laying in a large crate beside Kammerlohr's desk on most days.
"We even plan vacations so Charka can go with us," confessed Kammerlohr.
This teamwork, which is built on hours of training and time in the field, was on display this past week when Kammerlohr and Charka brought home a second place trophy in a national police dog and handler team competition.
Charka and Kammerlohr were part of an all-girl team that included handlers from Indiana and Russia and their dogs, a black lab and a pit bull. The trio of teams finished second overall in the narcotics team competition, which was held as part of the 2010 Seminar of Certifcation Trials, sponsored by American Working Dogs and Vohne Liche Kennels.
"We were the only all-girl team in the competition," said Kammerlohr.
In all, there were 115 canine teams participating in the trials. Handlers represented police departments, sheriff's departments and U.S. government agencies like the Secret Service, the Department of Defense and the National Security Agency (NSA).
This is not the first time Kammerlohr and Charka have brought home hardware from the national certification trials.
"We've been five times and brought home trophies for first and second place three times," said Kammerlohr.
The five-day trials included training, competition and various seminars. At the conclusion of the week, Kammerlohr and Charka earned recertification in narcotics and tracking.
"Charka's awesome," said Kammerlohr. "She worked her heart out. No matter what she gives it her all."
Vohne Liche Kennels where the trials were held is a full service K-9 training facility that has established an international reputation for producing the highly trained police service dogs. VLK has trained police and military service dogs for over 5,000 law enforcement and government agencies.
VLK, based in Denver, Ind., is where Charka was originally trained as a police service dog.