Canine cops help police

January 26, 2009 (CHICAGO) But rookie canines on the job now are anything but ordinary.

The two newest members of the Cook County Sheriff's K9 unit are unique and are already performing beyond expectations.

A big bloodhound puppy named Melanie helped police rescued a suicidal man from a forest preserve earlier this month.

"The point of starting her on the trail where this individual had come into the woods...she solely hunted out that odor by her abilities," said Jim Pacetti, Cook County K9 Unit.

Melanie found the man in the nick of time. He was semi-conscious and partially submerged in a creek.

The K9 unit consists of a variety of dogs, including bloodhounds and German shepherds, but the most recent member of the force is a very loving, very friendly pit bull.

A pit bull named Elliot Ness is anything but untouchable. Loving and friendly, these traits keep most pit bulls from being good police dogs.

"The main problem we're finding with pit bulls is that they're too darn nice. All they want to do is just sit at your feet or crawl in your lap. They're very nice dogs," said Deborah Thedos, Cook County K9 Unit.

Police officers main contact with pit bulls is when they break up dog fighting rings. When encountering these dogs they found that they were anything but vicious.

"We knew from the get-go that these dogs, they aren't made this way," said Sheriff Tom Dart, Cook County.

For Elliot Ness's partner the pit bull is much more than just a dog.

"He's my best friend. He's my friend. He's my baby and he knows it," said Thedos .

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