HARLINGEN — When Moses Cruz heard a college student on Spring Break was missing, he knew exactly what to do.
He took his trained K-9 to help search for the young man.
“It was already too late, but we did some searching,” Cruz said. “The sooner you pick up the scent the better.”
Justin Kirby Walker, 18, a Texas college student, went missing on South Padre Island during this year’s Spring Break. He was last seen at the Ultimate Music Fest at Schiltterbahn Beach Water Park.
Cruz was confident his dual purpose K-9 would pick up Walker’s scent, find him and save the day.
However, Walker had drifted too far off the Island and was later found dead on a beach near the Mexican border.
Cruz, 51, from Harlingen is a specialized dual purpose dog trainer capable of teaching dogs to pick up someone’s scent and track them. He also teaches dogs daily to be obedient, to search and rescue, find narcotics and to apprehend a suspect.
And with a single command he can order a dog to sit, apprehend, search and attack.
Cruz is well known in the K-9 training community. He has trained many home and law enforcement dogs over the years.
“I like to train all types of dogs,” Cruz said. “It’s very important for pet owners to have their dogs trained.”
He also has sold fully trained dual purpose K-9s to law enforcement agencies at prices starting at $30,000.
Harlingen resident George Pierce said he hired Cruz to train his Belgian Malinois for dual purpose, but mainly to help protect his family and to begin participating in K-9 handling competitions.
“He’s a very good trainer. He’s very patient and very knowledgeable,” Pierce said.
Cruz said he received his training when he was in Holland and Germany. He has been working with dogs for more than 30 years.
Most days you can find Cruz at the Harlingen Bark Park working with a pet owner’s dog or preparing K-9 officer dogs.
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