By Jill Fox
Residents may see a fresh face around town, but they’ll have to look down to get acquainted with Ryley, a Bloodhound and newest member of the Broward Sheriff’s Office Parkland District.
Donated to BSO by the Jimmy Ryce Foundation, which breeds, trains, and donates bloodhounds to law enforcement organizations across the country, they are known for their drooping ears, loose skin, and keen sense of smell. The dogs are typically employed for search and rescue; however, Ryley wasn’t just sent to Parkland to take a bite out of crime.
According to Captain Chris Mulligan, her primary mission is searching for missing people, but she also has a lot of value as a therapy dog.
“It’s good to have a dog to interact with the community after everything that has happened here,” said Deputy Jarvey Berman, Ryley’s handler, who joined the district about a week ago from Pompano Beach.
“Being that she’s a bloodhound, the therapeutic aspect comes with looking for missing people,” she said.
Berman didn’t plan to be a handler, but she decided to apply when the position opened. With prior experience with bloodhounds from her previous work with the Florida Department of Corrections, she thought it was a perfect fit.
“Bloodhounds are more on the feel-good side of K9s, and I liked that I could bring Ryley home to interact with my other dogs,” she said.
A dog lover herself, Deputy Berman, her husband, Marc, and their two sons already had their hands full with a Goldendoodle, two mix-Terrier rescues, a Chihuahua, and four cats. Still, she felt this was an ideal situation because Ryley would fit in as part of the family.
With only one other K9 Bloodhound in Broward County, Captain Mulligan said it made sense for another to join the Parkland department, especially because of the large number of children living here.
At just four months old, she still has a lot to learn.
“With bloodhounds, their nose is their main talent. They isolate a scent and basically take a mental picture of it,” said Berman.
Ryley is currently attending bloodhound training, including some seminars out of town, and she will receive her National Bloodhound Certification in North Carolina in October. Then, somewhere down the line, she will receive therapy dog training.
In the meantime, she has already met with one local student suffering from PTSD, and it went well.
“We see her as a work dog, and a large part of Ryley’s job description will be community outreach,” said Captain Mulligan. “We will look for any opportunity for her to be a part of community events.”
Residents will have their first chance to meet Ryley in person at the Parkland Farmers’ Market on Sunday, December 6, and see just how sweet she is.
Deputy Berman said, “The only thing aggressive is her slobbering,”
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- Jill Fox is an Emmy Award-winning writer and producer. She has worked in public relations and television for over 20 years. Fox lives in Parkland with her husband and their two children.