|K-9 Officer Manny
During a conversation about dogs, Louis, a patient at Heartland Health Care Center in Moline, Illinois, mentioned that he wanted to see a “K-9 Officer.” As a child, Louis had a German Shepard, and he knew that often this breed is trained as police dogs. With a few phone calls, Deputy Mike Ryckaert and retired Officer Rick Rickingham coordinated their schedules to allow a visit from K-9 Officer Manny.
On the morning of the visit, Louis was taken to the lobby area where his wife met him, and they waited eagerly for the “surprise” that Heartland staff had planned. Louis smiled from ear to ear when he saw the four-year-old black lab K-9 officer sporting his shiny badge.
Louis asked questions about Officer Manny’s work and how he was trained. He learned that K-9 Manny is originally from Germany and was trained to sniff components for bombs. When he finds a bomb, Manny is trained to sit down as a signal to his trainer and fellow officer Deputy Ryckaert. Manny has worked at schools, airports and other places that have received bomb threats, and he works during visits from heads of state, presidential candidates and presidents.
When off duty, K-9 Officer Manny has a normal family life. He plays with the Ryckaert family and gets a lot of spoiling. But, when it is time to work, he is very dedicated.
When Louis was asked by Deputy Ryckaert what he would do with the rest of the day, Louis smiled and said, “This is my day!” The officers thanked Louis for the opportunity to visit him and to connect with the public for community service.