“I thought he’d be an outside dog,” Farenthold said. “That all changed; he’s got his own room in my house.”
The canine named Nando was purchased for $4,500 from seized drug money – a bargain considering the average cost of a trained dog can run $14,000, Farenthold said.
Nando’s original handler was at a sheriff’s department in another county, but then he left, and Nando was left without a partner — to Farenthold’s and Woodsboro’s good fortune.
“He’s a great dog,” the marshal said. “Nando was trained, and we hit it off right away.”
The security the shepherd provides for the one-man police force is priceless. When Nando steps out of the patrol vehicle with his pointed ears at attention and his searing eyes staring at Farenthold’s suspect, the deterrent factor kicks in.
Illegal immigrants who often run after being stopped now do not budge.
“When we’re working together and he’s on the leash beside me, he can sense my moods,” Farenthold said. “When I’m nervous or wound up, he can feel it.”
The old cliche about man’s best friend is never more true. Just as Farenthold’s instinct tells him the stop he’s just made “doesn’t feel right,” Nando senses his partner’s concern. Nando’s ears perk up, and he’s all business.
A bond of trust quickly formed between the marshal and Nando. His so-called “room” is vacant for now. Nando sleeps on the floor next to Farenthold’s bed.
Woodsboro may be a peaceful community with a low crime rate but with U.S. 77 nearby, trafficking both drugs and illegal immigrants is a daily reminder that Refugio County is on the path to the Valley and nearby Mexico. Officers never know how treacherous the next stop can be.
Nano is a trusted, constant companion for the officer.
“I take him everywhere with me — I know he’s got my back,” the marshal said.
Narcotics were recently taken off the street, thanks to Nando’s help during the alert and arrest.
“He does what I tell him to do,” Farenthold said. “He will bite if I tell him to or he will be gentle enough to play with children. He’s very good with kids.”
Brushing the thick layers of fur are part of a daily routine.
“It’s more like having a small child; he needs a lot of attention,” Farenthold said.
Negotiations are underway with other departments who no longer have drug dogs and would like him to assist other officers. But for now, Nando and Farenthold are committed to working together, living together and bonding as best friends do.
The Marshal, who was hired earlier in the year, says he likes Woodsboro and has no plans to leave the community. With his new roommate, Woodsboro is now home.
“Once you connect, you’re partners for life,” Farenthold said.