EDOX is hard at work around Providence

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EDOX is a frequent visitor to the Alliance’s Dwares Jewish Community Center. And that’s a good thing.

You may not have noticed him or know who he is, but he’s an important part of protecting our community.

EDOX and his partner, Patrolman Scott Keenan, are at the Providence JCC prior to almost every large gathering to sniff out problems and dangers.

EDOX is an acronym for Explosive Detection Odor Expert. EDOX is also an almost 2-year-old Belgian Malinois who lives with Keenan. The breed is known for being “smart, confidant, world-class workers,” according to the American Kennel Club website. A Belgian Malinois, which looks like a small German Shepherd, will “forge an unbreakable bond with his human partner.”

When you talk to Keenan about EDOX, you certainly get the impression that’s true.

EDOX is one of six dogs employed by the Providence Police Department. Two work with explosives only, two are patrol and explosives dogs and one is a patrol/narcotics dog.  The sixth dog works as a comfort animal, riding along with Family Services to help victims.

Keenan says he must “walk a fine line” with EDOX.

“You have to remember he’s a working dog,” he says.

EDOX doesn’t get treats and he must work for his toys. When he finds something, he’s rewarded with his Kong toy. And hide-and-seek is one of the ways they train.

Keenan and EDOX both work hard at training, at the Rhode Island K9 Academy, under master trainer Roger Reardon.

“I came from a motorcycle unit. I didn’t know a lot about dogs. I’m new. I learn a lot. But to see him mature and learn” is pretty amazing, Keenan said.

“It’s a great experience,” he said.

A police dog partner is a 24-hour-a-day, seven-day-a-week commitment. EDOX lives with Keenan and his wife, and has become part of the family.

“We really enjoy being with him,” Keenan said.

When the Providence Police Department assigns the team to the JCC, Keenan and his partner walk through the building, checking for hidden dangers. Sometimes, they stay for part of an event to monitor who – and what – comes into the building. Staff members who deal with the pair are always glad to see them, understanding the role they play in keeping us all safer.

The children in the David C. Isenberg Family Early Childhood Center love to see EDOX, too. And he gets pretty excited to see them, said Keenan.

But if you see EDOX around the building, Keenan suggests that you remember that he is working and make sure to ask before petting. 

A police dog is “another tool in the toolbox,” says Keenan. “His scent and ability to work is so above what we can do. What that deters, we will never know.”

FRAN OSTENDORF (fostendorf@jewishallianceri.org)  is the editor of The Jewish Voice.