There’s a new officer-in-training at the Carbondale Police Department, and he’s gearing up to be a visible and adorable member of the city’s police force and the community. Axel, the department’s new K9 unit, is a four-month-old Giant Schnauzer and will be certified in Narcotics, Tracking, and Apprehension.

Axel was acquired from a breeder in Missouri and he already had his name when he arrived in Pennsylvania. According to his handler, Ptlm. Robert Williams, K9 Axel is a mischievous and strong-willed dog who loves a good game of fetch. When he’s not demanding belly rubs, he is running the house as the leader of the pack of two little chihuahua-yorkie mixes and one cat. He is devoted to Officer Williams and is very quick to respond to his demands. Axel loves playing with water bottles, and chewing on bones and on his pillow.

Axel doesn’t like it when he’s not the center of attention, so he’ll be happy when he’s the leader of his K9 Unit. He’ll undergo months of training which will teach him how to detect illegal drugs, including marijuana, methamphetamine, heroin, and more.

Despite being a working dog, Axel’s life will also be like that of a typical dog because he’ll spend his time with his handler’s family like any household pet. According to Officer Williams, “With the training he’ll go through, he’ll be socialized so that people can pet him. When’s he’s not working, he’ll be a family pet.”

Axel will receive the best of care from the folks at Finch Hill Veterinary Hospital, who have donated their veterinary services to help keep the rapidly growing pup fit and healthy. As a Giant Schnauzer, Axel is expected to attain a height of around 28 inches tall and a weight of up to 110 lbs., making the all-black pooch a formidable member of the police force. He’s currently being fed a high-quality puppy food specially formulated for large breeds and is not given access to human food to make sure that he remains healthy.

Giant Schnauzers are hypoallergenic and don’t shed. They were bred as working dogs in Germany and are a very active and intelligent breed used by the military, by law enforcement agencies, and as guard dogs worldwide. Giant Schnauzers require a lot of exercise and stimulation, but in return, are hardworking dogs who enjoy learning new things.

Protecting K9 Heroes, anon-profit organization located in Illinois, donated a Narcan Kit and a WRTP Medical kit to the Carbondale Police Department to help keep Axel safe while he’s on the job. The kit contains Naloxone, also known as Narcan, which blocks the effects of opioids and reverses overdoses within 2-5 minutes.

The kit comes preassembled with all the supplies that are needed to safely administer Naloxone because, unfortunately, K9s like Axel are also falling victim to the drug epidemic and can be accidentally exposed to opioids during searches. Protecting K9 Heroes’ goal is to have police dog handlers properly equipped in the case of emergencies to save the lives of their K9 partners.

Through donations and support from the community, protecting K9 Heroes aims to reduce the amount of K-9 related deaths throughout the United States by supplying as many of them with the protection they need. The organization offers Multi-Threat Ballistic Vests, K9 First Aid Kits, and Naloxone (Narcan) Kits to achieve this goal. For more information, visit www.protectingk9heroes.com or check out Protecting K9 Heroes on Facebook.