Sun’s Out, Tongues Out: Let’s Welcome Two Good Girls to the UVA Police Pup Brigade

July 19, 2023 By Jane Kelly, Jane Kelly,

Their names are Winter and Luna.

Winter is a 1-year-old yellow Labrador retriever. Luna is a 2-year-old black Lab. Both are good girls who join their more Yoda-like co-cops, Nahla the German shepherd and Maggie the bloodhound.

That’s right – all of the University of Virginia’s working police doggos are good girls. Does that make them doggas? Is there a trend here? After all, the undergraduate gender ratio also skews female.

But we digress.

Winter and Luna are first-years, having just started their very important jobs using their heightened sniffers to detect explosives.

We got to meet them in person last week, and boy, are they wiggly and just what you expect from Lab pups: all energy, affection and big, clumsy paws.

But curiously, they are not fans of carrots. Or cantaloupe. We tried to entice them with obviously orange healthy treats, but no one was biting. They did enjoy some ice-cold H2O from an orange doggie bowl, so we will call that a win.

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Portrait of Officer Wallace Goode and a golden lab
K-9 Officer Wallace Goode is Winter’s handler.

When the newest four-legged officers declined to comment, UVA Today turned to Winter and Luna’s handlers to learn more about the dogs, who both weigh in at about 50 pounds.

K-9 Officer Wallace Goode works with Winter and says, “She is a ball of energy and loves to be loved. She’s an excellent working dog. She can differentiate between ‘Oh, it’s love time’ and ‘Oh, it’s time to go to work.’”

Goode and his colleague, K-9 Officer Kalin Decker, recently returned from Jackson Springs, North Carolina, where they went through a month of handler training with Winter and Luna.

Now that they are back in Charlottesville, the officers and dogs are conducting mock searches for explosives like dynamite, smokeless powder, ammonium nitrate, TNT and black powder. Winter and Luna can also detect guns and shell casings. “When they smell it, you’ll know it,” said Goode.

Candid photo of a black lab being pet
Luna was in fine spirits when her handler, K-9 Officer Kalin Decker, brought her to University Communications for a visit.

The dogs feast on 3 to 4 cups of kibble a day, depending on their appetites. They were named at the facility in North Carolina. Goode opted to keep the name Winter; Luna was originally named April. “I threw out a few names to my children and they picked Luna,” Decker said.

Both dogs live with their handlers and sleep in kennels called Canine Castles. “It’s like a little house that’s got a little front porch with composite deck boards that’s chain-linked in. And then they have their own indoor area inside,” Decker explained.

“The department is fortunate to add K-9s Winter and Luna to the unit. [They] will be responsible for responding to not only University calls for service, but also the surrounding counties as well,” said University Police Lt. Audrell Ragland, who oversees the K-9 squad. “K-9s Winter and Luna will join a highly demanding team and will provide an extra level of security for all who walk the Grounds of this University.”

We welcome Winter and Luna to the pack!

Media Contact

Jane Kelly

University News Senior Associate Office of University Communications