Pit Bull Who Was Saved From Dog Ring Becomes First Arson-Detection K9 Officer


For many dogs, life can sometimes be tough and unfair. The worst thing is when, at the very beginning, the dog does not get the proper chance. Then, fate takes him in the wrong direction without him being able to do anything about it.

This is exactly the fate that befell Hansel, the Pit Bull who ended up in a dogfighting ring when he was only a few weeks old. To make matters worse, when he was seven weeks old, he was put on the euthanasia list, along with 20 other dog fighters.

Everything was heading in the direction of tragedy, but then good people stepped in and started a global campaign, #Savethe21, to save those dogs from euthanasia. Among them was Hansel and his sister, Gretel.

It was a light at the end of the tunnel, and suddenly, better days were ahead for this Pit Bull. 

His Place Under The Sun

K9 Pitbull at the fire department
Source: @arsonk9hansel

The non-profit organization, Dog Tales Rescue and Sanctuary, played a leading role in saving Hansel and the other dogs. They immediately transferred them to Dogs Playing for Life, in Florida, to be fully evaluated and trained. 

While many of them found their forever homes, Hansel’s path was a bit different. He received further training from the Throw Away Dogs Project, a nonprofit organization that rescues “unique” dogs and trains them to become K9s.  

He trained there for a year before he was transferred to a 16-week K9 academy with the Millville Fire Department, located in Millville, New Jersey. Tyler Van Leer, one of their firefighters, was his biggest advocate. He believed in this dog from the very first day. 

Officer and K9
Source: @arsonk9hansel

“Hansel’s hunt drive is extraordinary,” Tyler told GeoBeats Animals. “When you’re looking for a working dog, you want a dog that will not quit. He does not stop. He’s a tank.”

That’s exactly how Hansel behaved at the academy – he didn’t give up and quickly acquired new skills, which helped him graduate very quickly. 

While at the academy, Hansel was trained on 14 different odors, and once he was imprinted on all of them, he finally got the job. This dog became a single-purpose arson detection K9, meaning he was able to identify ignitable liquids, such as diesel, kerosene, and gasoline. 

The most fascinating thing is that Hansel was probably the first canine who was able to do this. 

K9 Badge
Source: @arsonk9hansel

“I am 100% sure Hansel is the first pit bull arson detection dog in New Jersey,” Carol Skaziak, the founder of Throw Away Dogs, told CNN. “I have done so much research and I don’t believe there are any other pit bull arson detection dogs in the entire country. I have not found any others.”

It was an incredible success for this dog, but the best was yet to come.

All-Favorite Pup

Officer and his favorite K9
Source: @arsonk9hansel

Just like he started at the academy, Hansel continued at his new post at the Fire Department in Millville, New Jersey. From the first day, he was completely committed to his work and did not hesitate to accept the most difficult and dangerous tasks. 

“As a fire investigator, I go in and determine where the area of origin is,” Tyler told GeoBeats Animals. “If nothing is making sense and I see some burn patterns that look irregular that’s when I deploy him.”

If Hansel recognizes an odor, he goes into a sit that tells Tyler that there is something there. Then, Tyler takes samples of that area and submits them to the New Jersey state police lab for further analysis. 

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Tyler confirmed that Hansel has successfully completed as many as 100 such tasks. That best shows how important this dog is to their department. 

However, the most valuable thing in this whole story is Hansel’s relationship with the other employees of the department. In a very short time, this happy and playful dog became a favorite among them

Officers and dog
Source: @arsonk9hansel

In addition to the fact that everyone loved to pet him and play with him, Hansel was also a kind of therapy dog ​​for the firefighters. Whenever they came back from a difficult task, Hansel was always there to put a smile on their faces. He was a balm for their souls. 

Truly Special Bond

Officer kissing his K9
Source: @arsonk9hansel

Honor to all, but the most powerful was Hansel’s relationship with the person who gave him a new chance and helped him find his new life. Hansel and Tyler became inseparable, and it was clear that this relationship would grow into something bigger. 

“When we leave the firehouse for the day, he comes home with me. He comes hopping out and he knows that he’s home.” Tyler said. 

Tyler’s wife, as well as his entire family, quickly fell in love with Hansel. Although, at first, they were suspicious because of his breed, Tyler’s friends soon became delighted with this dog when they saw how he breaks all stereotypes. They realized that he was such a special boy.

Dog with ball in its mouth
Source: @arsonk9hansel

In the end, on top of all the good things that happened to him, Hansel found out that he was going to have a happy retirement. Tyler confirmed that he was willing to adopt Hansel when the dog finished what he had started in the department. 

Although he was on the verge of euthanasia, the life of this special dog turned into a real fairy tale. He became the first arson-detection K9 officer, the most beloved dog in the department, and in the end, he found his favorite person with whom he would meet his happiest ending.

This dog is the best proof that everything is possible in life despite all the hardships. Hansel, a proud K9 officer, can truly be an inspiration to all of us.