A town is getting its first police dog in 20 years, thanks to a 5-year-old boy.
From stray to the sheriff's office, this pup's had quite the journey.
This dog's name is Bosco, and he's going to help solve crimes, in part thanks to a 5-year-old boy in Iowa.
In January 2016, Bosco will be joining the police department in Ankeny, Iowa, as part of its brand new K-9 unit. He comes by way of an animal shelter in Syracuse, Indiana, where he was taken in as a stray puppy. There, a shelter trainer noticed Bosco had potential to work as a police tracking dog and brought him to the attention of a police trainer in Omaha, Nebraska.
Local businesses and town residents donated toward the campaign to bring Bosco to Ankeny.
The Ankeny City Council set a fundraising goal of $20,000 to help pay some of the initial costs of getting the K-9 unit up and running. Thanks to all the donations pouring in, the Ankeny Police Department exceeded that goal and successfully raised nearly $30,000 toward Bosco's training and other K-9 unit start-up costs.
But it was a donation from 5-year-old Tristan Sommerfeld that helped put the campaign over the top.
When he grows up, Tristan wants to be a police officer. After learning his hometown police department was trying to raise money to give Ankeny its first K-9 unit in 20 years, Tristan decided to help make it happen.
"My birthday, a lot of people gave me some money," said Tristan to WHO-TV in Des Moines. "Rather than asking for gifts from friends and family, we asked for donations for the K-9 fund," added his mom, Amber Sommerfeld.
Tristan raised a total of $1,500 and donated all of it to make sure his local police department could get the K-9 fund off the ground by the time he's old enough to join the force.
Police dogs can play an important role in helping to find missing people or detect drugs.
"We've had some cases in the past where people have gone missing and having a dog that can track is going to be very helpful," said Bosco's handler Officer Bret Lappin.
And while the effectiveness of a dog's ability to help find people or drugs varies based on factors like breed, environment, and training, K-9 units are a valuable addition to any town's police force.