Meet Major: The newest member of the K9 security team at Kadlec

RICHLAND, Wash. — When you think of security at a hospital, whatever comes to mind probably doesn’t have four paws.

At Kadlec Regional Medical Center, the K9 security program that began in 2019 has just added its newest member — a two-year-old Belgian Malinois from Croatia named “Major Kadlec.”

Major joins Colonel Kadlec, a six-year-old black German Shepherd from the Czech Republic.

The two patrol different Kadlec facilities and the main hospital, providing a welcome sight for visitors, staff, and patients.

K9 Security Officer Phil Reams started the program with Colonel about three years ago as a “first phase” out of a three-step plan.

“I went down to Alabama and picked him up and we’ve been working together ever since,” Officer Reams said. “I enjoy waking up every morning and either training with Colonel or walking the hospital with him. He never ceases to amaze me. He’s just an all-around great partner to have.”

Now Major is following in Colonel’s footsteps.

“Once we get our second canine officer all up to speed and ready to go that’ll be our second phase and hopefully we can move onto the third phase which would be a third dog,” Officer Reams said.

Major’s handler, Officer Pete Almaguer, said the two just finished a 10-week training intensive and are ready to get to work.

“It’s been a lot of fun. The Kadlec team is amazing. The support we get from them is just incredible,” Officer Almaguer said. “Being able to be out here and be part of the team and help everyone every day is just a really good experience. I love having a K9 and having a partner to go to work with every day. Working with a dog every day is wonderful.”

Hospital officials said adding a dog to the program can cost hundreds of thousands of dollars which is why financial support from the community and private donations is crucial.

In the future, officials said they hope to continue the program’s expansion to provide security for all of Kadlec’s facilities.

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