Ixi sniffs her way into everyone’s heart

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Ixi sniffs her way into everyone’s heart

Ixi takes a break in the high school office after a full day of drug investigation.

Ixi takes a break in the high school office after a full day of drug investigation.

Brittany Taylor

Ixi takes a break in the high school office after a full day of drug investigation.

Brittany Taylor

Brittany Taylor

Ixi takes a break in the high school office after a full day of drug investigation.

Helen Mata, Staff Reporter

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Since Ixi was a puppy, she was selected to be a single purpose dog. Little did she know that she was going to become the most popular dog out of every dog in Stephenville, Texas.

  With Joe Sherrod being her human, he trains Ixi on a day to day basis so that she can be the right fit for our schools. Ixi seems very happy and content with her job.

  Sherrod and Ixi go wherever they are needed. When the high school or junior high request for immediate presence, they are there in minutes.

  “Ixi is just so happy. She thinks she’s the celebrity. Everywhere we go, people always want to pet her. She’s so perfect for a school environment,” Sherrod said.

  Sherrod found Ixi in Abbeville, Louisiana where she went to U.S. K9 unlimited. She was trained there for narcotics and firearm detection. Although Ixi was trained before Sherrod got to her, she still trains and works very hard every day.

  “When we aren’t at the schools, we do all kinds of stuff. She’s very good at obedience training,” Sherrod said. “We train at least once a week.”

  A soon to be drug dog takes many tests. In order for a drug dog to be the best of the best, they take many courses. There are many different ways to train a drug dog. Some dogs may be scared on a very slick floor and can’t get their feet stable. Others have a big time dealing with loud/obnoxious noises. The reviewer places them in a huge pit of empty milk jugs and throws a ball for them to chase. Once they qualify the K-9 goes to wherever they are needed.

  “The place I went didn’t give me a lot of information about the training methods. The man there is supposed to be one of the best at what he does. His training methods are from the department of defense. They go in and understand everything about a dog’s behavior and how they train them. She was very well trained when I got her,” Sherrod said.

  Ixi is a single purpose dog, meaning she was only trained to detect drugs and guns. She is a very intelligent dog and can sniff out multiple different types of stimulants and depressants including: Heroine, Cocaine, Marijuana, Ecstasy (MDMA), and Methamphetamines. Sherrod knows when she’s around an odor she’s looking for by her behavioral change.

  “I went down, and they trained me to watch her since she was already trained. I learned what she does and when she’s around the odor she’s looking for her behavior totally changes, which I can pick up on. Somebody who didn’t know her and didn’t know what to look for would not see that,” Sherrod said.

  Individual training is required for Ixi everyday. Due to alpha instinct in every dog, K-9’s are not allowed to train together because they all want to show dominance. Sherrod trains often with the other Stephenville narcotics officer.

  “We will go and hide drugs in buildings or wherever we’re working that day, and we will run one dog at a time,” Sherrod said.

Is Ixi an all work dog and no play? No, although she is a work dog, she gets rewarded with toys and playing time. Sherrod takes her out at least once a day to go play fetch. Ixi has a big kennel outside of Sherrod’s house. When its nice outside she’ll stay out and have her play time alone.

  “We go out at least once a day if not more than that and play ball. I go to the junior track at the high jump pit. It’s very long and fenced in, so I can take her off her leash and throw the ball and she runs and enjoys it,” Sherrod said. “I have other dogs and they get along very well, we have a lot of fun. She’s so funny to watch, when she gets outside she just runs and bounces and plays.”

  Ixi comes from Hungary. If she would’ve never been selected to become a drug dog, then she would be living the normal dog life. In Europe, dog training is a huge business. They have the best breeding places and dogs. U.S. K-9 goes to Europe to choose all their top dogs. A drug dog can be around $13,000 to $20,000. A dog then has a passport to come to the United States.

  “Dog training would be the equivalent to football for us. They go all the way up to what we call a Super Bowl. It is a major deal,” Sherrod said.

  Sherrod learned many things when training. He learned that he could not direct her. Ixi does all the work.

  “We kinda just give her the direction to go instead of touching things. She does all the work. Ixi has a great nose on her,” Sherrod said.

  Ixi is at the school almost daily. Students are allowed to pet her and take pictures of her after asking Officer Sherrod for permission. Sherrod has so much fun with his K-9. Ixi loves her human.

  “Wherever I go, she goes. I love watching her play outside. I am her first human,” Sherrod said.

Brittany Taylor
Ixi takes a break in the high school office after a full day of drug investigation.

Brittany Taylor
Left to Right: Joe Sherrod, Ixi.
Ixi, the SISD drug dog, sniffs lockers in the main hallway of the high school during an actual drug search.