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Meet "Nyx," the first single-purpose bomb-sniffing dog in Colorado's Douglas County

Meet "Nyx" Douglas County's first bomb-sniffing dog
Meet "Nyx" Douglas County's first bomb-sniffing dog 02:49

3-year-old Belgian Malinois Nyx has law enforcement in her blood.

"She is actually the daughter of my very first police dog," said Douglas County Sheriff's Deputy Ian Austin, Nyx's handler.

Austin and Nyx were family before they became partners. He raised her from birth.

"We have a very strong bond," said Austin.


Five months ago, the Douglas County Sheriff's Office recruited Nyx to be its very first single-purpose bomb-sniffing dog. Douglas County Sheriff Darren Weekly says the sheriff's office decided it needed one after a bomb threat at Chaparral High School last April that turned out not to be a threat.

"We have over 90 schools, 63,000 students, not to mention businesses, and so we needed to have our own bomb dog. Typically, in the past we'd have to ask for other agencies to come down and do the sniffs when we had a threat," said Weekly.

The sheriff's office has K-9s who work in suspect apprehension and finding drugs, but until now, no one like Nyx. She can also detect guns and shell casings.

It's a job Nyx has been training for her whole life.

"One of the requirements that I had was for the bomb dog to be a social dog and what I mean by that is for the bomb dog to able to interact with kids and with the public," said Weekly.


Nyx definitely checks that box.

"We'll go into schools, she's usually getting pets and getting loved on by students and staff, but when and if there's a threat or scare, we're available to do a search as quickly as we can get there," said Austin.

In addition to schools, Nyx also patrols courts, county buildings and large events.

So far, she hasn't found any active threats, but Austin keeps her nose sharp with weekly training. CBS News Colorado's reporter Olivia Young tagged along at a recent training in a former Colorado Athletic Club building. 

"This box has the actual explosives in it, there's some detonation cord," said Austin. "In these other boxes, we have distractor odors. One of them has dog food, the other has a towel with some other dog odor. She'll sit with the odor until I give her marker word which for her is 'free.'"


Her reward for sniffing out threats? Her ball and some love from her handler.

"Ball is life for her," said Austin as he gave Nyx her reward. "Good girl! Good girl!"

A bomb-sniffing K-9 from Colorado Springs worked to secure the Super Bowl on Sunday. 

Austin says he hopes he and Nyx will one day get that opportunity. But for now, community members can catch her at local events like the county fair where she's working to keep Douglas County safe.

Editor's note: The Douglas County Sheriff's Office previously had two K-9s who were dual purpose -- explosive detection and apprehension dogs. Nyx is the first single-purpose bomb-sniffing dog.

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