Over the years, working dogs have been a part of the Green Township Fire & EMS family. The first was Sammy.
K-9 Sammy – Service Dates 1994-2001
Sammy’s career began humbly in a dog pound in the State of Maine where she was taken after a State Trooper found her wandering along a highway. She was less than a year old and undernourished but her enthusiasm and love of tennis balls bought her a ticket out of the pound and she was soon transferred to the Maine Criminal Justice Academy for training as an Arson Dog. After teaming with Green Township Fire Investigator Steve Claytor, Sammy became southwest Ohio’s first Certified Arson K-9 and investigated over 1000 fires during her career. She was often called in to help fire investigators in the tri-state area and made many appearances in court. So successful was she at putting the bad guys away, at one point there was a price put on her head. After retirement from “active duty” Sammy was free to indulge in her favorite pastimes, which included swimming, riding along in the truck to fire scenes, and burying toys in the yard, one of which we’re still looking for. Sammy lived out her days as a beloved pet in the Claytor home. She passed away on June 18, 2006.
K-9 Maverick – Service Dates 2001-2008
Born at a breeder’s facility in Lima, Ohio, full blooded Labrador Maverick was donated to the Arson K-9 program. After training and certification he teamed with Green Township Fire Investigator Steve Claytor. They investigated over 100 fire scenes each year, aiding departments in Ohio, Indiana and Kentucky. Many area children and adults were familiar with the popular Maverick from his frequent demonstrations at schools, churches and civic groups. He was always ready to work or play and his outstanding scent discrimination abilities were matched only by his loving heart. He would do anything asked of him, even calmly riding in the fire truck aerial to reach a rooftop investigation. Diagnosed with an aggressive form of cancer in January 2008, he passed away in June of that year, despite a valiant effort. Maverick kept working until the end, investigating his last fire less than a week before his death. His passing left an empty place in the Claytor home that has never been filled.
K-9 Rudy – Service Dates 2008 – present
Rudy and Steve had the good fortune to be found on the internet by a wonderful woman who raises puppies for Southeastern Guide Dogs. She saw his photo and immediately recognized him as “her Rudy”. Thanks to her we were able to fill in the blanks about his younger days and former career. We learned, among other things, that he is a “Goldador”, a cross between a Labrador and Golden Retriever. Although unsuccessful as a guide dog, Rudy found his true calling as an Arson Dog. His scent detection skill is exceptional and he never fails to find the source of incendiary fires. When he isn’t helping to identify the point of a fire’s origin he’s out in the community. His engaging personality draws people to him to hear the all-important message about fire safety.
Rudy, like Sammy and Maverick before him, had a second home and second family with Steve at the firehouse. All 3 dogs had an important “side job” there – therapy dog. As one firefighter stated: “I noticed that when we return from a bad run (translation: traumatic EMS call or fire), everyone heads for Rudy”. We owe these dogs so much and they ask for nothing in return except the occasional belly rub. Well OK, a lot of belly rubs. We love them, we work with them and we never forget them.
After a long career, Steve Claytor retired from active duty with Green Township Fire & EMS, but still assists with some fire investigations and brings Rudy with him.