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K-9 Police Team Blog by V.M. Burns

I’m Not A…

I’m not a doctor, but I play one on television was a catchphrase from a commercial that first aired in 1986. An actor from daytime soap opera, General Hospital, endorsed a cough syrup. The idea being that the actor didn’t have a medical degree, but you should still trust his recommendation because…well, he was a doctor on television. Seems ridiculous, but when I was asked to write a blog about a K-9 police unit, that commercial popped into my head. I’m NOT part of a K-9 police team, but I write about one in my new Dog Club Mystery series. So, if I’m not a K-9 officer, why should you believe what I write? Where do I get my facts? The answer is, research.

A few years ago, I was fortunate enough to attend the Writers Police Academy (WPA), an annual workshop specifically designed for mystery and crime writers. Classes were taught by police, FBI, CIA, Firemen and Paramedics. It was held at a community college where law enforcement officers and EMS were trained. I attended the workshop because I wanted to write cozy mysteries and I wanted to get the details right. At the time, I had specific questions about a different book. However, one of the presenters was Corporal Moser and his Canine partner, Rico, with the Greenville County Sheriff’s Office. I learned a ton of great information about K-9 units and that’s when the idea to include one in a future book first took shape.

In addition to the WPA workshop, I spent many years as a member of Echo Dog Club in Southwestern Michigan. Most of my time at the dog club was spent training and competing in performance events. However, one of the club members also did Canine Search and Rescue. One of Echo’s missions is to educate. So, the club often participated in demonstrations which allowed the public (or interested club members) to ask questions. I was intrigued to learn that search and rescue teams did not have to be members of the police force (at least not in Michigan). At one time, I even contemplated going through the training with my toy poodle, Cash. He liked to track and poodles are retrievers, so I thought he would excel at search and rescue. Unfortunately, Cash was hindered by an owner who is a coward when it comes to trekking through fields and streams where there are snakes, mice, spiders and…nature.

Thanks to books, workshops like WPA, and interviewing the brave men and women who dedicate their lives to law enforcement and search and rescue, I can write about things like K-9 teams from the comfort of my home. As for Cash, who knows what he could have achieved with a braver owner. Instead, he’ll have to settle for being the inspiration for one of the dogs in my Mystery Bookshop Mystery series. I think he’s okay with that.


A killer wants Lilly Echosby to roll over and play dead . . .

Lilly may be losing a husband but she’s gaining a toy poodle. That could be seen as a win-win, since her new adopted pooch Aggie (named after Agatha Christie) is cute and adorable, and Lilly’s dirty dog of a spouse is cheating on her with a blond bimbo—except for one problem: Albert Echosby’s just been murdered, and Lilly is the number-one suspect.

With the cops barking up the wrong tree, it’s a good thing her best friend Scarlett “Dixie” Jefferson from Chattanooga, Tennessee, decided to take a break from the dog club circuit to pay a visit, along with her own prize pair of poodles. With help from Dixie, her defense attorney daughter, and a blue-eyed man in blue with a K-9 partner, Lilly is determined to collar the real killer. But when a second murder occurs, it’s clear they’re dealing with one sick puppy . . .


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