L/KPL K. Thiruvickneswaran grew up never having a pet dog and at times felt intimidated by the animal.
However, after joining the police force five years ago and being posted to the K9 unit, he has managed to overcome his fears.
Now Thiruvickneswaran, 27, and Mailo, his three-year-old German Shepherd, are best friends and have been working together for more than a year.
They are usually deployed to crime scenes to sniff out clues while looking for dead bodies and missing persons.
Their biggest success was when Mailo and another German Shepherd, known as Barny, managed to locate the body of a woman who was murdered earlier this month.
“The body was buried in a lemongrass plantation in Kota Tinggi.
“The dogs had been searching for about 30 minutes before they picked up the scent of a decaying corpse.
“They then recovered the body from a 2.1m deep hole, ” said Thiruvickneswaran, who hails from Selangor.
The woman’s husband had allegedly shot her dead at close range while she was asleep.
After the incident, the suspect is believed to have wrapped the body in a bedsheet and kept it inside a blue plastic barrel.
The husband, with the help of an accomplice, buried the barrel in a field in Bandar Penawar.
Johor police chief Comm Datuk Ayob Khan Mydin Pitchay presented both Mailo and Barny, along with their handlers Thiruvickneswaran and L/Kpl Carlvin Maluni, 29, commendation letters in conjunction with the 214th Police Day celebration, for helping to solve the case.
Mailo and Barny received medals and dog biscuits.
Carlvin said before he was paired with Barny about a year ago, he was a “kennel man” tasked with administrative duties at the K9 unit.
He added that to be a dog handler, he and Barny underwent a four-month course.
Presently there are four German Shepherds and two Labradors in Johor’s K9 unit.
Comm Ayob also presented commendation letters to 162 other policemen and civilians, including The Star’s Johor bureau chief Nelson Benjamin.