The image of a police dog invokes riot control or something intimidating. When I suggested to my staff that we get a narcotic detection dog for Williamsburg House, they found it “one of Joe’s crazy ideas” and it was, but not without value. The first hurdle was to find an appropriate dog which was actually a matter of grace. Mik, had a career as a narcotic detection dog in Texas until funding dried up and they ended their canine program, leaving Mik in a kennel at the training facility. Without his “working collar” he is a very sweet, very well trained lab, friendly to anyone who offers petting. We weren’t anticipating the added bonus of Mik becoming a house mascot, wildly popular among residents.
Mik is trained to detect any narcotic, from prescription medications to street drugs, he will be able to detect the presence of it. While this can come off as policing, we use Mik’s ability as part of the therapeutic process. We can’t deal with a problem if we are just speculating about the problem. What Mik does is brings all of the questions in self doubts and self deceptions into honesty. Speculating that a loved one may or may not be using is wheel spinning and won’t help move from fact finding into action. When we bring Mik into the field, we can empirically tell someone if there are narcotics in the space. When the doubt is removed, it allows people room to move from speculation into action.
We had received no less than five calls from a worried mom of a young adult. “I just don’t know if he is using again, he says he isn’t.” While the idea of a narcotic detection dog screening took a bit of time for her to process, the result yielded a large amount of heroin in the young man’s room. It was stashed behind an electrical switch plate. Moms snoring in rooms just cannot compete with the nose of a dog. The end result was we were able to help that family get that young man to treatment.
Without the aid of Mik, that family would have been left in worry and wonder. The time that was spent figuring out what was going on could have ended in a lethal dose of heroin. When it comes to battling addiction guessing never pays off. With Mik, we never do.