CHESTERFIELD COUNTY, Va. -- Every recruit training in the Chesterfield Police Academy must be 21 years old. But in one particular case the department is making an exception.
He is a cadet that is only six months old. Rudy the bloodhound is the youngest cadet in the county.
Once he completes his field training, Rudy will be paired with Corporal Dan Shuklis.
“This is him all of the time. Always smelling,” said Shuklis. "He doesn’t stop. It is mind blowing."
In 21 years of wearing a badge for Chesterfield, Shuklis says he has never worked with a partner like Rudy.
“He’s going to be a huge asset to the department and the community. This is by far the best job I’ve had,” said Shuklis.
What sets Rudy apart from other cadets is the tool at the end of his snout.
“He loves to work. The scent he can pick up on is unbelievable,” Shuklis explained.
This pup will be tasked with specific missions.
“He’s going to go on finding missing persons to finding dangerous criminals," said Shuklis.
The partners must go through about a year of rigorous training before Rudy can officially become an officer.
“So it is a teamwork. It's me and him. I’ve got to watch him and let him do his job and he lets me know when he needs help and I give it to him,” said Shuklis.
According to the AKC no other dog has a more powerful sense of smell.
“He is still a puppy and does puppy things,” said Shuklis. “He will be on a trail looking for things and see a butterfly and that is more fun.”
Shuklis says Rudy's progression is nothing short of a small miracle.
“Environmentally I haven’t found much that he is afraid of or won’t work through.”
Rudy has had an uphill climb. When he was born his mother abandoned him.
“He was the runt. They had to bottle feed him,” said Shuklis. They weren’t sure if he and his brother were going to make it.”
But the Chesterfield Police Department saw raw talent. Rudy will need to uphold the law but he is already breaking it. This puppy steals the hearts of everyone he meets.
“Everyone says hollers to Rudy. They want to pet Rudy. No one says ‘hi’ to Dan. That is OK.”
Liz Caroon says Rudy is even gaining a loyal following on social media with his weekly Instagram posts Rudy Tuesdays.
“This is the first bloodhound we’ve had in a long, long time,” said Caroon. “It is to the point if we’re late on Rudy Tuesday people wonder where content is because they need to see Rudy.”
“The great thing is too,” said Shuklis. “I think he's going to make people like the police a little bit more.”
Officer Dan Shuklis and Rudy the bloodhound should be a certified tandem in about six months. But already this rookie officer 'nose' how to help people.
"This is my dream. I’m living my dream,” said Shuklis. “When he retires. I’m going to retire.”
When he completes a task, Rudy is rewarded with his favorite treat Vienna sausages. Officer Rudy's time on the force should last about five to seven years.