The Newton County Sheriff’s Office recently welcomed a new K-9 officer to its ranks, but with the addition of Chobe comes the retirement of 9-year-old Rin, a Belgian Malinois who has been working off and on with the NCSO for several years.
Rin retired to the home of his handler, Deputy Watkins but is finding it a bit hard to adjust to a life of leisure.
"Whenever I crank the engine [of his patrol car], he’s ready to go to work," said Watkins.
He was purchased by Watkins from North Carolina but had spent his early years in Miami, possibly as a guard dog. According to Watkins, getting Rin to recognize who the Alpha male was in the relationship was a struggle at first, but one that was quickly overcome.A certified trainer, Watkins worked with Rin and brought him on at the NCSO as an all-purpose dog in 2005. After a year, Watkins was called away by the military and spent several years serving his country overseas. While Watkins was gone, Rin didn’t work. When he returned, he started back with training but Rin was not needed at the NCSO at that time.
When newly elected Sheriff Ezell Brown took office, he and Chief Deputy Jerry Carter, were very keen on having Rin back on board. He was assigned to the traffic unit and assisted deputies on the interstate.
"I give all the credit to Rin coming back to Sheriff Brown and Chief Carter," said Watkins. "They have been very supportive and Chief Carter also came and watched some of the training of Rin, which is very positive for him to be out there supporting the program."
Most recently Rin has worked as a narcotics dog, assisting in several drug busts on Interstate 20. In his career, however, he has worked as a tracking dog, in handler protection and in criminal apprehension.
"It’s pretty hard to get out there without a narcotics dog," said Watkins. "You just never know what you’re going to have when you make a stop."
Although he still keeps up with his training at home with Watkins, his age is starting to show.
"His muzzle has whitened and his eyes are getting a little cloudy," said Watkins’ wife Carrie. "He’s starting to move a little slower and there are days when he’s not feeling well and will lie in the house all day. I think his hearing and eyesight are leaving him, but Rinny’s nose is still very strong."
Although Rin still has the desire and the ability to work, he is very much a family dog now. He plays with Watkins’ two boys, Conner and Kyle, and is very protective of 4-month-old Casey. But when given the chance, Rin’s still ready to work, jumping right into the patrol car and sitting down in his place in the back, eager to get back on the road.
"Rinny could still work," explained Watkins. "His nose is still sharp; he still follows commands. But he’s just getting older."
But until the time comes that he’s needed back at work, Rin can spend his retirement like most people do, relaxing. Although his brand of relaxation includes a shaded spot under the children’s trampoline and a rubber toy tire, perpetually hanging from his mouth.