This dog’s life sounds like a screenplay pitch: Homeless pup becomes professional drug-sniffing canine! Or: From homeless and hopeless to Humane Society resident to Maryland Division of Correction dog-in-training.

Fade in: Last Friday afternoon — rain coming down. Bruiser, a one-year-old labrador-pit-bull mix leapt and barked and feasted and snoozed and leapt some more at Humane Society headquarters. His brother Teardrop having been adopted first, easily, Bruiser wondered if his extra extroverted personality might not be too much for the typical rescuer to abide. Rain got worse, yet it was this steamy gray Friday, last Friday, when Bruiser was happily adopted by the Maryland Division of Correction Canine Unit. From here, bright, high-energy, 75-pound Bruiser will not only have a warm home with an active routine and kind, familiar faces, he’ll have a job to perform, perfectly suited to his ultra-active, highly inquisitive nature. The unit meanwhile earns a smart sniffer.

In act two, Bruiser’s set to enter a 10-week program, the Narcotic Detection Dog Academy. Many shelter dogs have come through this program with flying (or wagging) colors, according to Captain Mark Flynn of the Correction Canine Unit. According the the Humane Society press release, Flynn’s own backyard dog is a unit retiree, who spent years in service until he started suffering from hip dysplasia. 

“We like to take our dogs from shelters,” Flynn said in the release. “First, it saves lives.  Second, it saves the state a lot of money. It cost us thousands of dollars for one dog from a breeder. A labrador, for instance, can cost between $1500 to $3000 – and that’s untrained. If the dog is pre-trained by a breeder it can cost the state $6000!”

Upon graduation from the academy, Bruiser and his human partner will patrol statewide detecting drug odors and halting contraband from entering the state prison system.  Bruiser’s sniffing gift will enable him to identify a wide range of drugs, including marijuana, cocaine, heroin, crystal meth, and ecstasy. That’s act three. But Bruiser’s so cute, and eager to please, we’re already hoping for a sequel.