Sheriff Deputy Ben Spegel and Exotic

Another great program at yesterday’s (May 9th) Charlevoix Kiwanis Club’s luncheon meeting. Deputy Ben Spegel introduced us to his  partner “Exotic.’

Exotic was born in Slovakia. He is an eighty-pound full blood German Shepard. He received very basic training in Slovakia. (He still speaks Check) Exotic was shipped to an individual in Clio, Michigan who imports and trains dogs for law enforcement agencies all over the United States. Exotic was purchased by the department for fifty-thousand dollars by privately donated funds.

Deputy Spegel said, among many accomplishments, he is most proud of his locating a man who got lost and subsequently injured at Fisherman’s Island State Park. He said the man would have almost certainly lost his life in the sub-freezing temperatures that night.

A dog’s sense of smell is six-hundred times that of a human. Exotic has been trained to recognize things in the environment that are out of the ordinary. He used the example that when an individual walks through a field of grass a small amount of gas is released when a blade of grass is broken. Finding a gun, a shell casing or knife are things he will find because they are objects that he would not normally expect to find in a field.

Exotic lives in spacious quarters at the Spegel home but interacts very well with his family and other pets. However, when he gets in the car he knows that he is going to work.  Exotic can spend long periods of time in Deputy Spegel’s car alone so the vehicle is equipped with special sensors to turn on the air condition or open a window if the engine isn’t running and the temperature in the vehicle exceeds eighty-five degrees. If that doesn’t work, it will open a door and the horn will begin to blow.

When Exotic retires, deputy Spegel hopes he can remain with his family as a pet.