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University Police Department show off new bomb-sniffing dog

With her recent campus debut, Avery took a day off to meet some of the students she’ll be looking after.

A+typical+sweetheart%2C+Avery+allows+students+to+pet+and+play+with+her.
A typical sweetheart, Avery allows students to pet and play with her.

A typical sweetheart, Avery allows students to pet and play with her.

Sabrina Flores | Daily 49er

Sabrina Flores | Daily 49er

A typical sweetheart, Avery allows students to pet and play with her.

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Avery, Cal State Long Beach’s bomb-sniffing dog, took some time off to introduce herself to some of the students she looks after.

At around 1:30 p.m., University Police pulled up near the courtyard in front of Liberal Arts 4 quickly attracting students to the scene of the event. Emerging from the vehicle, the yellow Labrador leaped from the passenger seat to harmonies of “awws” from the crowd.

Unsure of the situation, students opted not to go near the dog, assuming she was there on police business.

The police dog was accompanied by her handler, Sergeant Ray Gonzalez of the University Police Department. As her police vest signals whether or not she is on duty, Avery was able to recognize that with her vest removed, she was free to jump around and play with the onlooking students.

Sabrina Flores | Daily 49er
Avery even as her very own badge, making her CSULB’s official K-9 Officer.

In an instant, Avery went from a behaved professional to acting like a puppy. With her tail wagging, she was quick to greet anyone she could get close to.

“I love doing these little meetups,” Gonzalez said. “It allows her to let loose and be social with everyone.”

Gonzalez and Avery showed off her fetching skills as he tossed a tennis ball around the courtyard while spectators gathered. Sprinting and jumping across the grass, Avery unknowingly gave the crowd a demonstration of how agile she really is.

“I think it is great that we have her to protect our campus,” said Emily Lachman, a senior communication studies major. “I wish we could just have her walking around campus in play-mode all the time.”

Being her handler, Gonzalez is responsible for taking care of Avery around the clock, including making sure she stays in shape with vigorous exercise and a hearty diet. Training around campus almost everyday, Avery is able to familiarize herself with the area, making it easier to conduct future campus searches. In order to make her off-the-clock workouts more fun, the pair often go on runs together, sometimes at the beach where Avery enjoys splashing around in the waves.

“It takes a lot for a dog to trust you, work for you. You need to develop a bond in order for them to want to listen,” said Gonzalez.

Avery and Gonzalez also spend one day a week at a training center in Ventura County. While there, she is able to catch up with her sister, who also works as a K9 officer in Northridge.

Gonzalez hopes to eventually get her certified in tracking. Avery would be able to conduct searches for missing children when she finishes her training.

As the meet and greet concluded, Avery and Gonzalez were asked for a group photo. With the help of Corporal Luis Rocha holding a tennis ball to keep her attention, Avery sat still and posed like a professional for the camera.

Students can expect to see more of Avery around campus as the semester goes on, but make sure she’s not in uniform before petting her.

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