K-9 Sowell — Law Enforcement and Detection

Location: Marriottsville, Maryland

Like most of us, K-9 Sowell wasn’t sure what he wanted to be when he grew up. He started his career as a seeing eye guide dog, but his love and excitement for others made it clear that career path was not the best fit. He changed careers and was sent to work with an arson dog trainer working to detect ignitable liquids. K-9 Sowell excelled in scent recognition and discrimination. You can say he has a nose for the job. He can sniff out a wide variety of ignitable liquids often used to accelerate a fire. In 2019, K-9 Sowell met Capt. Craig Matthews of Howard County Fire & Rescue. They bonded instantly, and it was clear they would become a great team. K-9 Sowell works ~75 fire scenes annually, covering 2100 sq. miles of Maryland. The scenes include fatal fires, homicides involving fire, building and vehicle fires. With K-9 Sowell’s scent discrimination abilities, he can identify evidence within a few minutes compared to the countless hours fire investigators would spend trying to dig through fire debris to locate evidence at a fire scene. His skills have assisted finding evidence and bringing closure to families resulting in arrests of arsonists. When K-9 Sowell is not working fire scenes he spends most of his time training, making public appearances to raise awareness of fire safety deterring the crime of arson. He loves playing ball and a good old belly rub! The partnership of K-9 Sowell and Capt. Matthews truly goes beyond the badge and they are now bonded for life.

Round 2 of voting for the 2021 Hero Dog Awards is now closed.