Childrearing

Hiring a Drug-Sniffing Dog to Paw Through Your Child’s Room Is One Parenting Trend That Does Not Need to Catch On

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German_Shepherd_Dogs_portraitIf you are looking to turn your child into a brilliant modern novelist, there are a couple options you could take. You could save up to pay her way through an MFA program in creative writing, but honestly you’d probably get more traction by spending $99 to hire a drug-sniffing dog to literally paw through all her belongings. It might sound like a completely crazypants example of neurotic parental overreach, a bizarre performance of power, and an invasion of privacy, but it’s the kind of action that will guarantee your child at least three published personal essays. “It Happened to Me: My Parents Hired a Drug-Sniffing Dog to Ransack My Room.” 

I’d read that, wouldn’t you? Of course I’d read that essay, but I’d really hate to be that kid.

Apparently it is actually possible to hire a drug-sniffing dog to go through your child’s room, and there are parents who are actually taking advantage of that service. The Washington Post reports that in Lousiville, Ky., it costs $99 to have a drug-sniffing dog come to your house and look for drugs in your kid’s room. Michael Davis, the owner of the TLC K9 Service–which I thought stood for “Tender Loving Care” but apparently stands for “The Last Chance”–says he started his company in September and has already searched more than 50 homes.

Davis claims that he has found drugs in nine out of 10 homes that he’s hired to search, and he even says the most common drug for him to find is heroin. The anonymous parent who used the service and agreed to talk to the Washington Post said that he hired Davis because his 14-year-old daughter was hanging around with new friends and there was an “unsavory” odor in her room. But rather than ask her what was going on or search the room himself, he hired Davis to come in with a dog.

“I’m not a snooping parent. I want my daughter to be able to trust me, but I gotta protect her,” he said. “I know girls can be sneaky and hide things in places I wouldn’t even think of.”

The dog reportedly discovered a small glass marijuana pipe … in her makeup drawer. Good thing he brought that dog in.

Davis told the Washington Post that his drug-sniffing service is valuable because if he does find drugs, he can help the parents “scare kids straight.” Does that actually work? I know alliteration is convincing, but has any kid ever been “scared straight” by a stunt like this?

Some parents reportedly have the dogs come while their kids are at school, which seems neurotic and invasive but makes a little more sense to me than does the alternative, wherein parents specifically hire Davis and his giant dog to show up and terrify their teenagers.

“The dog is extremely intimidating,” Davis said to the Washington Post. “When the child sees that it has a jaw-dropping drop effect. They think, ‘Oh wait, now there’s a company my mom or dad can call that brings a dog into this home anytime they think I may have drugs?’ Next time, they’ll think twice.”

Maybe they’ll think twice, or maybe they’ll think, “Holy shit, my parents are insane Gestapo who just unleashed the hounds on me!”

This just really does not sound like a good way to build a strong parent-child relationship, or like an effective way to keep kids off drugs.

For their part, the police don’t seem to think this is a good idea either. One law enforcement officer told the Washington Post that he had concerns about how parents dispose of the drugs once the guy with the dog turns them over–apparently the guy with the dog can safely bag up the drugs and drop them off with the police, but giving the police no information about the people who hired him, or he can leave it with the parents to dispose of properly. Hopefully he has a suggestion or two about that, because I have absolutely no idea how to properly dispose of illegal drugs. Do you flush them? Sell them on Craigslist? Make a YouTube video with them? Somehow I suspect any parent who would hire a German Shepherd to ransack their kid’s room to “scare them straight” would probably go for the YouTube option.

(Photo: Wikimedia/Jn2race)