Photos and story by Marianne Salza
The Chelsea Public Library hosted Meet Chelsea Police Dogs, the first event of the 2017 ‘Build a Better World’ summer reading program, on June 22. Perky, a 2 ½-year-old Black Labrador Retriever, and her handler, Officer Eddie Noftle, visited the library to teach families about their work in the Chelsea Police K-9 Unit.
“With the way things are today, we feel that explosive detection dogs are very important,” said Officer Noftle. “She is so accurate.”
Perky is a single-purpose dog, trained in detecting the odors of 42 explosives, such as shell casings, guns, and bombs. When she locates a threat, Perky will passively sit as close to the explosive as possible while remaining at a safe distance, and is then rewarded with food.
“She has crawled under a little Toyota Corolla, and crawled under a dashboard to get to the source of the explosive,” described Officer Noftle.
Perky has had 16 weeks of training with the Massachusetts State Police and the Connecticut State Police, and has worked with Officer Noftle for more than a year. Most recently, the partners patrolled Sail Boston, and will be protecting the Esplanade during the Fourth of July celebration.
“She has no handler protection trained into her, so she’ll probably lick everyone. She’s very friendly,” said Noftle to listeners. “She started as a seeing eye dog. I believe her food drive is what kept her out of that program, but for a police dog, a high food drive is perfect.”
After a day of work, Perky will return home with Officer Noftle, and roll into a ball beside him.
“I am very excited about the theme, which is build a better world,” said Martha Boksenbaum, Children’s Librarian. “It ties into STEM, but also has a social justice aspect of treating each other nicely, and building a world we want to live in. I think it’s going to be really fun.”
During the 2017 ‘Build a Better World’ program, children are encouraged to add blocks to the LEGO structure in the children’s section of the library as a literal interpretation of building a better world together as a community. The library will be offering special events throughout the summer, including animal shows, reading in the park, and a LEGO club.
“I am most excited about the very last program, a Solar Eclipse Viewing Party,” said Boksenbaum, about the Mon., Aug. 21 gathering at 2:30 p.m. on City Hall lawn. “We received a grant from NASA and the American Library Association to celebrate the total eclipse. You can see the eclipse from the entire United States of America.”
The full Summer Reading Program series of events includes:
Thurs, July 6 at 11 a.m.- Wingmasters: Bird Show
•Thurs, July 6 at 1 p.m. Chelsea Lego Club
•Thurs, July 13 at 11 a.m.- Malik the Magic Guy
•Fri, July 14 at 12:30 p.m. – Mariana Iranzi bilingual Spanish & English Sing-A-Long
•Thurs, July 20 at 11 a.m.- Toe Jam Puppet Band
•Thurs, July 27 at 11 a.m.- Sciencetellers
•Thurs, Aug 3 at 11 a.m.- Animal Adventures
•Thurs, Aug 3 at 1 p.m.- Chelsea Lego Club
•Fri, Aug 4 at 1 p.m.- Movie: To be announced
•Tues, Aug 8 at noon – Field Trip to the Boston Public Library. Registration Required.
•Thurs, Aug 10 at 11 a.m.- Pumpernickel Puppets
•Fri, Aug 11 at 1 p.m.- Movie: To be announced
Fri, Aug 18 at 1 p.m. – Movie: To be announced
•Mon, Aug 21 at 3 p.m.- Solar Eclipse Viewing Party on City Hall Lawn.