Huntsville Hospital K9 Tracks Missing Patients, Detects Narcotics
Mollie, Huntsville Hospital Health System’s K9, can sniff out illegal drugs as well as find wandering patients.
Huntsville Hospital Health System’s patients, visitors, and staff are head-over-paws for Mollie the German shepherd, who is believed to be the first hospital-based security K9 in the state.
Mollie’s primary purpose is sniffing out illegal narcotics, a job for which she is certified through the National Narcotic Detector Dog Association as well as the Hamilton County (Tenn.) Sheriff’s Office. She also has a nose for tracking people – a skill that could come in handy if an elderly patient wanders away from their hospital room and goes missing, for example.
Mollie’s handler, veteran hospital security supervisor Calvin Ousby Jr., says, the mere presence of a K9 team tends to make people think twice about committing crimes. Currently, about 12% of U.S. hospitals have a public safety dog.
“Dogs are a psychological and physical deterrent to potential threats,” Ousby said. “And Mollie really has the perfect personality and skills for being in a hospital setting.”
Mollie, who was born in The Netherlands, developed a strong bond with Ousby during 320 hours of detection dog-and-handler training in Alabama, Georgia, and Tennessee. She also lives with Ousby and his family.
“Mollie and my 5-year-old son have become like best friends,” Ousby says.
While Mollie is the furry face of Huntsville Hospital Health System’s public safety dog program, Ousby brings 15 years of experience in healthcare security and a commanding presence thanks to his muscular 6-foot-5 frame. The son of a Mississippi State Trooper, he began working in security while playing football at Jackson State University. After moving to Huntsville in 2007, he played left tackle for the Tennessee Valley Vipers of the Arena Football League and later served as an assistant coach and interim head coach for the Alabama Hammers.
“I’m so excited to be a part of this new K9 program journey,” Ousby says. “But really, it’s all about Mollie. I’m just the guy holding the leash.”
Mollie is named for Mollie Teal, one of Huntsville Hospital’s early benefactors. In the late 1800s, Mollie ran a bordello on the edge of town that she left to the city upon her death. Her large wooden house became the second site of the hospital in 1904 – then known as the Huntsville Infirmary.
Does your school, school district, college, university, or hospital have police or comfort K-9s? If so, send CS Editor-in-Chief Robin Hattersley your photos at [email protected].
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