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People Top 5
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- November 19, 2007
- Vol. 68
- No. 21
Dan McClelland is the sheriff, but it's his partner who gets the glory. "She receives mail and gifts from around the world, and the governor asks about her all the time," says McClelland, the chief law enforcement officer in Ohio's rural Geauga County.
The popular sidekick in question is an 8-lb. Chihuahua-rat terrier mix named Midge, a skilled search dog who can sniff out marijuana in a high school locker and squeeze into the hard-to-reach spaces in cars favored by drug dealers. Recognized by Guinness World Records as the world's smallest police dog, the 2-year-old pot-sniffing pup, one of eight K9s on the county force (the others are German shepherds), made her first search at the age of 6 months and has completed hundreds of missions since. "Midgie gets the same training and puts in the same work week as all the other dogs," says McClelland, 54.
She just happens to be a lot cuter. At the sheriff's office in Chardon, where she sleeps on top of an Eeyore plush toy and chases a blue rubber ball, Midge is a magnet for attention. "Everybody flocks to her," says Deputy Sheriff Mike Matsik, 53. Still, the dog only has eyes for Sheriff McClelland, who got the idea to train a small, gentle dog for drug missions after watching larger dogs tear up car interiors during searches—leaving the county to pay for repairs in cases where no drugs had been found. Midge runs away from anyone but the sheriff and follows him from room to room. At night she sleeps in the house McClelland shares with his wife, Bev.
Even skeptics—and there were plenty at first, says the sheriff—have come to accept the smallest addition to the force, who is still learning new tricks (like how to detect cocaine) and unlearning bad ones. "When I've left her in the car, she has set off the siren and turned on my spotlight," says her boss. "We're getting it worked out."
You can e-mail Midge at email@example.com
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