NORFOLK, Va. - A new member of the U.S. Navy is everybody's best shipmate, but you can just call him Bud.
Bud is the Navy's only golden retriever and he lives at Naval Station Norfolk.
Dustin Tyler is Bud's trainer. "He's the only golden retriever in the Navy. Believe it or not, he is young and he's a different dog, but he's one of the best dogs we have in our kennel," Tyler said.
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Tyler said Bud was scouted by the Navy just last year for the K-9 program. They look at things like temperament and drive and were open to picking the friendly-looking golden retriever. "They took a shot with him and he turned out to be a great pick."
Bud spent months learning about detection and the safety of the base, and the people on it, falls on his cold nose. Most of his time is spent searching cars for contraband.
"He's looking for things that are not allowed on base," Officer Brian Gardill, Bud's handler, told WTKR.
If Bud finds something, his handler said he'll give a signal. "From that point, I'll act accordingly, depending on what he's doing."
When not searching, they work on obedience and Bud gets paid for his work in tennis balls. He loves his tennis balls. "We've tried other toys, but a tennis ball is his thing and he'll do anything for it," said Gardill.
At the end of the day though, he's still a dog, a two-year-old golden retriever who loves to play. "His temperament is a lot different, so I've had to adjust from what I'm used to with the other breeds, like German shepherds. I think he has a happier demeanor," said Gardill.
But that happy-go-lucky attitude doesn't hold Bud back. Out of 17 working dogs in the Naval Station kennels, he just might lead the pack.
"I'd put my bet on him to save lives," said Tyler.