Meet the 'mother' of one of these amazing dogs, who is also the wife of his handler.
One day recently I was having a conversation with Caryn Aretino, who happens to be the wife of Monmouth County Sheriffs K9 Officer J. Aretino and 'mom' of K9 Ari.
It occurred to me that it must be challenging enough to have your husband on the front lines, but to also have a precious dog that you raised out there with him, well, I can only imagine the worry you have to fight to keep at bay.
So I asked Caryn if she would share with us what it's like behind the scenes.
She starts off by saying, "K9 life is not for the weak. It takes full family support."
K9 Ari is a 10-year old German Shepherd. Caryn and J have had him since he was only a year old. Ari lives with the family full time. "When he is home he is the sweetest Momma's boy who loves to play with his fur brothers," says Caryn, "And when he is on the streets working I’m told he’s not always the nicest."
You see, Ari can act ferocious when he needs to catch the bad guys! Caryn says, "It’s truly amazing. It’s like a switch is flipped and he knows when to turn it on and off."
Ari's job is narcotics patrol and he is cross-trained in SWAT. Training was 26 intense weeks of just J and Ari learning about each other and their job.
But Caryn says that in Ari’s down time he loves belly rubs and floating around the pool in the summer.
In Caryn's words, "As a nurse I learned a long time ago not to worry. Worrying does not stop anything bad from happening. My job at home is to continue to keep a sense of normalcy for the kids. J & I decided when the children were little we would not keep anything from them. Meaning if J and Ari get called out, I receive a message, and from there it is my job to let our kids know before things surface on social media."
Caryn says the reason for that is because one time, before the kids were told that their dad and dog had gone out on a call, pictures surfaced on social media...and their daughter still talks about it.
"I am looking forward to the day that both J and Ari can retire," Caryn says. Most K9s work until they are between the ages of 9 and12, depending on their health.
We have had the honor of having J and Ari visit us in our Point studios, as well as at the Asbury Park boardwalk where our fans got to see him up close. We love and respect J and Ari, as well as Caryn and their family.
I would also like to say thank you not only to them, but to everyone who is raising, nurturing, and partnering with a police officer K9 dog both at the Monmouth County Sheriff's Office and in every municipality that is lucky enough to have K9s. It takes a special kind of heart and mental attitude to be able to do such a thing. I know without a doubt it keeps our communities safer.
Caryn also wants to give a shout out to Barbara Leary from Caruso Elementary School and looks forward to seeing them again. Mrs. Leary is a very special 4th grade teacher who, each year, takes her kids on a school-year-long quest into the community to raise money for the K9s so that they can be safe and protected while doing their jobs.
CLICK HERE to see some of the things that Mrs. Leary and her students have done.
Also, in case you haven't seen this post yet, meet this precious puppy being trained to be a K9 at the Monmouth County Sheriff's Office -- CLICK HERE for more adorableness!