Meet 8-month-old black labrador retriever Kona, a service K9 trained in detecting biological weapons, chemical weapons, and pharmaceutical-based agents.
Travis Rebello, a New Bedford Fire Fighter and member of the Massachusetts Hazardous Materials Response Division heard about a dog the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s department had on their team and after lots of research thought a trained k9 with those skills would be a great tool to have in this area.
Kona comes from a line of service dogs out of Buxton, Maine. Her mother was a cadaver dog and her father was trained in search and rescue. She joined her partner Travis Rebello, and his family in December soon after beginning her training in January with the K9 training unit with the Bristol County Sherrif’s Department.
Travis, while he’s had other dogs in his life had never really had experience training, the Sherrif department worked hard with both of them for many weeks until he was able to handle his dog and Kona passed her certifications.
Now that Kona has been trained and certified she’ll be utilized during big events in the area such as the New Bedford Half Marathon, Day of Portugal, the Portuguese feast and at Gillette Stadium. Her ability to smell and detect these hazardous materials is far more advanced than the machines available and Travis hopes she becomes a model for future K9s to be added to other teams.
Faces of New Bedford is a New Bedford Guide project being undertaken by Josh Souza. If you’d like to nominate someone or ask a question you can inquire with him through email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Faces of New Bedford began as a project by Colton Simmons. You can find Colton on Instagram: https://instagram.com/simmonscolton.