At first glance, the interaction between Larry Dore, a sergeant with the Delaware County Sheriff's Office, and his 2-year-old Belgian Malinois named Rek looks like fun and games.

At first glance, the interaction between Larry Dore, a sergeant with the Delaware County Sheriff's Office, and his 2-year-old Belgian Malinois named Rek looks like fun and games.

The interaction between the two "partners" at a media briefing last week, however, was anything but. It was a chance to show how man and dog work together to track down criminals and locate drug stashes.

The new dog replaces Thor, who retired after eight years of service.

"Rek is fully trained and certified," said Sheriff Walter L. Davis III. "Our office planned carefully for a smooth transition. We will not have any interruption in canine service."

Rek joins the department's two veteran dogs, Rocky and Rondo.

All three are multi-purpose and work a variety of cases, Davis said, including drug investigations, suspect apprehensions and missing person searches. A canine presence can also increase officer safety and help sheriff's deputies build relationships with the public, he said.

"It is important to maintain three dogs since the workload is increasing for our canines just like it is for our deputies," Davis said.

Rek has been on the street for two months now, Dore said.

He proved his value on his first drug case when he sniffed out 100 balloons full of heroin, Dore said.

While many will see the crime fighting benefits of police dogs, they play a big role in community education as well, he said.

"We do a lot of PR (public relations) events and bring the dogs into the schools," Dore said. "Rek helps build a bond with the kids. They will not always remember our names but they will remember the dogs' names."

Davis expressed his gratitude to the Delaware Ohio Kennel Club for its help in acquiring Rek.

"The Delaware Ohio Kennel Club helped make the purchase and training of the new canine possible through a $6,000 donation," Davis said. "The cost of a new canine can reach approximately $12, 000."

The Kennel Club is a nonprofit organization that promotes the study, exhibiting and maintenance of purebred dogs including reputable breeding and responsible dog ownership in our community.

"Our club was touched by the successful career of Thor when he attended one of our meetings. Making a financial donation that helped Rek join the Delaware County Sheriff's Office is perfectly aligned with our club's mission," said Lamont M. Yoder, DOKC president.

Thor is enjoying retirement at Dore's home, the sergeant said, but still gets excited when he sees his former partner in uniform.

He was introduced to Rek just once but an ongoing friendship is probably not in the cards.

"They are both alpha males and don't play well together," he said. "They are a little jealous of each other."

cpreston@thisweeknews.com