Clever K-9s and healthy kids at YMCA field day

May 13, 2023

Blue, Fairhaven Police Officer Jillian Jodoin’s K-9, is a faithful companion both on and off the streets.

“When my dog comes home, he’s a pet,” Jodoin said. “He’s a complete love bug. He may or may not have slept in bed with me a few times. He’s a very good boy.”

Jodoin, and Plymouth County Sheriff’s Department K-9 Deputy Kevin Ardini, demonstrated the long paw of the law during Healthy Kids Day at the Gleason Family YMCA on Saturday, May 13. 

Healthy Kids Day, an event helping kids stay safe and active throughout the warmer months, takes place every spring at YMCAs across the country.

Blue, a 2-year-old American Labrador retriever, is trained to sniff out drugs. On Saturday, however, he got to play fetch with kids. 

“It was actually kind of funny when I threw the ball up in the air, and it landed right next to me,” said Catherine Lariviere, 9.

Aygo, Ardini’s 2-year-old German shepherd, is trained to track missing people, search buildings and catch “bad guys.” 

“I should’ve stayed in school!” Cried Jodoin, playing the part of a “bad guy,” as Aygo latched onto the protective bite sleeve on her arm.

“First it was cute,” Catherine said, “but when I saw the second dog, I was like ‘She’s gonna get hurt.’” 

Despite the sleeve, Jodoin said that Aygo’s bite is sometimes “enough to leave a mark.” 

“He’ll stay on until he’s tired,” Ardini said. “And he doesn’t tire easy.” 

“I’m basically a chew toy,” Jodoin said. 

Both officers said that the demonstrations are important to improve relations between the police and the communities they serve.

“When I see people in the community,” Jodoin said, “they can come up to me and ask me how [Blue’s] doing.” 

Along with the K-9 demonstrations, there was a water safety lesson in the YMCA pool, dancing, a bouncy obstacle course, a Scholastic Book Fair and booths staffed by local organizations such as the Wareham Land Trust and Wareham Free Library. 

“Healthy body, healthy mind,” said YMCA Special Events Coordinator Cathy Longfield, who was responsible for “handling the craziness” in the obstacle course. “Because in the summertime, there’s a lot of learning loss. We try to bring in organizations that encompass the whole body.”

Jacob Woloski, 10, enjoyed the obstacle course, and getting “free stuff” from the booths. He considers himself a healthy kid.

“I get a lot of sun, I don’t get sick a lot,” he said. “I feel great every day, too.”