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This week at the Alpena Combat Readiness Training Center is dog week. It’s a week that the National Association of Professional Canine Handlers has K–9 units come from across the continent to Alpena, and they get top-class training. Colonel for the US Air Force and Base, Jim Rossi said, “We are hosting here at the Combat Readiness Training Center, The National Association of Professional Canine Handlers.” Rossi also stated, “There’s 350 dogs and their handlers that are here accomplishing some very important training for these first responders.”

The partnership between the CRTC and NAPCH in the K-9 unit training has been proven over time and is continually growing each year. Terry Foley, the President of the National Association of Professional Canine Handlers, said, “It’s our 17th year being here, and we have for the fifth year in a row over 300 teams attending, all from Canada or from the United States.” Foley continued, saying, “The training that they get here is second to none, because some of the training they don’t get in their localities.

Terry Foley, President of the National Association of Professional Canine Handlers

For the law enforcement showing up for the training, it’s a week they get some serious training with not only their partner, but their buddy too. Anthony Steariha, Deputy Sheriff of Ottawa County, MI, came to the CRTC with his partner, Goose. Steariha stated, “There’s no better job in police work than to be a canine handler. You got your buddy with you all the time, He comes home with me, he goes on vacations with me. At night when you’re driving around in the car you’ve always got him there, you can handle alotta calls.” He added on, “Knowing he’s in the car, just one button push away, and you can have him, but it’s the best job in the world in my books.”

This week long event for the K–9 units is not only held on base, but in the community also, and the support didn’t go unnoticed by Foley.” Foley wanted to reiterate, “The community, Alpena, we have some offsite locations that were provided by the county of Alpena, the city of Alpena, the citizens of Alpena. They are more than supportive of us coming out each year, and we want to let them know how much we appreciate what they do for us.”