As part of her confirmation at Luther Memorial Church, Danni Schutz organized a collection of stuffed animals to be used for K-9 units in training and patrol.  She and mentor Paula Nichols presented the toys Oct. 6 to Otoe County K-9 Officer Brian Briley and his partner Blaze.
Briley said the dogs are trained by maximizing the use of their extremely sensitive noses.  
Their sense of smell is 100 times better than humans and dogs can distinguish different smells rather than the strongest.
For training, the toys are placed with drugs so that the scent of those drugs will then transfer to the stuffed animals.  
Then, they are hidden to give the dog an opportunity to “sniff them out.”
Once found, as a reward, the dog is allowed to rip apart the toy.  
Blaze had a lot of fun demonstrating how well he could shred a previously cute and fluffy stuffed bunny.  
Briley said these toys are important as a reward during training and work time.
For the confirmation project, Schutz’s mentor Paula Nichols said that she had seen the K-9 demonstrations with Girl Scouts and thought it would be a good project.  
Schutz agreed and she put out collection boxes that said “Stuffed Toys for Working Dogs.”  They were pleased with the results, and Blaze, along with his K-9 co-workers, will certainly enjoy the benefits.