Gundy, a rescued blue heeler, is the latest member of the St. Helena Parish Sheriff’s Office.

Gundy, who arrived last month at the Sheriff’s Office, will patrol the streets with his new partner, Deputy George Baker.

Purebred drug dogs can cost up to $35,000 once they are trained, but Sheriff Nat Williams said it cost his office $2,900 to put Gundy on duty.

Williams said he applied for a grant through the Universal K9 program to purchase the dog.

The program rescues dogs from shelters and trains them to sniff out contraband.

The dogs are trained to look for marijuana, meth, heroin, cocaine and ecstasy, he said.

Once the dogs are trained, they are sold at discounted prices or given to law enforcement agencies.

It’s a win for the dog and a win for small departments like St. Helena Parish that don’t have a lot of money.

“The department is grateful for this program. We were able to rescue a dog, utilize him and give him back to the community,” Williams said.

Baker attended a two-week training program in San Antonio, Texas, with Gundy before he could bring him back to Greensburg. Training included obedience, leash control and how to handle searching vehicles and buildings.

Before that, Gundy went through four months of training for spotting hidden narcotics.

When Gundy detects contraband, he sits and points with his nose to alert his handler, Williams said.

Baker and his new partner were in the parish a week when they made their first bust assisting the Greensburg Police Department, Baker said.

“He did a great job; he alerted every location the drugs were found. I am extremely proud of my partner,” Baker said.

Williams said the new K-9 team was an immediate success.

Another rescue dog will hit the streets this month, Williams said.

St. Helena Parish Deputy Toler Smith left for Texas on Jan. 4 to begin his two-week training with his new partner, a bulldog named Bubba.

“The St. Helena Parish Sheriff’s department is committed to taking guns and drugs off of our streets,” Williams said. “Now, our hope is that the new K-9 unit will boost the tally of weapons and potentially dangerous narcotics taken off the streets of St. Helena Parish.”