The Palm Valley community in Oviedo recently hosted a meet-and-greet with Max, a German shepherd in UCF’s K-9 unit, and his trainer, Community Relations Supervisor Cpl. Chuck Reising.  The community is just  few miles from the UCF campus and residents are grateful that such a well-trained K-9 force is available so close by.

“Our dogs are used on a daily basis; we have mutual aid with all local agencies in Orange County and Oviedo,” said Reising. Max, who is 3 ½ years old, is one of three full-service dogs in the unit who can track, search and sniff out drugs and explosives. A fourth, still in training, has recently been acquired.

As Reising explained the costs associated with bringing a new canine to the team, one resident commented that he had seen many rescue dogs in action during his time in combat, adding “you just can’t put a price on life.”

The community members held a Chinese auction fundraiser following the visit to raise money for the new shepherd and the unit as a whole. Eighty items were auctioned off, with all proceeds going to the UCF K-9 unit. “We are not a wealthy community but we believe in UCF and are very excited to help the unit,” said Anne Mertens, one of the organizers of the event. More than $1,500 was raised at the auction, with additional contributions anticipated.

A formal presentation by Holly Morse, Palm Valley community manager, to the UCF K-9 unit will be made at a later date.