This is a story I spent several months working on, trying to understand how dogs are put to work in Fairfax County. I was fortunate to go behind the scenes with Fairfax County Police K9 Teams, as well as K9 teams from the City of Fairfax, and the Herndon Police, the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority K9 police, the Customs and Border Protection Service and the Fairfax County Fire Marshal's Office.

The sad part of this story is that as I was preparing images and copy for the paper, my dog of 11 years had to be put down. I was interviewing K9 officers at their training facility, then I would rush over to my vet's to consult with her, and then head back to the police training area. It was the best week of my life professionally and a very difficult week of my life personally.