From street dog, to police dog, Mako has a brilliant new life
A stray german shepherd has found a new and distinguished career thanks to Leigha Genduso, who saw promise in the handsome and energetic dog and did not want to give up on him. The 98 pound dog, now named Mako, was living on the streets until he was picked up by a Georgia rescue who called Genduso who has been rescuing dogs for years, simply because she loves it. “My own time, my own money,” Genduso told the Herald. “It’s a passion I’ve had my whole life.”
Genduso used to be a 911 dispatcher and so when she saw Mako, a light went off and she knew just what to do. She called veteran Trooper Gary Berlo, who had just lost his second K-9 Narcotic Detection dog to illness. Berlo was considering a transfer after losing his second partner, the heartbreak was just too much. But then Genduso introduced him to the dog he named Mako. “I couldn’t take it anymore. I wasn’t going to stay if it wasn’t the right dog,” said Berlo.
Well, it seems Mako was the right dog for Berlo. State police made an exception to their rule of accepting donated dogs and Mako and Berlo began working together. It was quickly evident that Mako had a strong work ethic and could understand commands in Czech. A microchip and an ear tattoo revealed that the dog came from a breeder in Slovakia and was originally sold to someone in the U.S. to protect their estate. That owner could not be located, which turned out to be Berlo’s good fortune.
Mako has fit perfectly into Berlo’s life, and is wonderful with his 3 young sons. “He’s a freak of nature,” Berlo said. “My first two (K-9) partners didn’t have that switch they could shut off when they got home. I now have a house pet. It’s something I’ve never seen before. He can tell when I’m angry, sad, stressed. They say electricity runs down the leash.” The bond they share is clear, and so is the fact that Mako and Berlo rescued each other, just in time.