Sadie is a Black lab who helps the Colorado Bureau of Investigation solve cases of arson. You'd want a dog like her on your side should something happen.
Jerry Means, CBI Agent in Major Crimes, is Sadie's dad or handler. He works with her everyday, keeping her detection skills sharp. She only eats when she finds what she supposed to.
"What she's looking for is petroleum-based hydro carbons," Means said, "so gasoline, diesel fuel, lighter fuel. Things that somebody might commonly have available to start a fire and spread it from one point to another. She can find trace bits of that."
Sadie's six. She's been on 500 fires, some high profile cases including the Douglas County double homicide, murder-for-hire scheme, where two people were dead and the suspect is now serving a life sentence.
"Say who's going to jail," Means asks as Sadie sits down by the accelerant, a sign she found something. "Nice job. That's what you do around people who are bad. Nice job."
Sadie works with the CBI's lab, that confirms her findings. But no human or a machine can really do what she does with precision.
"She can go from checking a living room to checking a field for a container somebody discarded when running away," Means said.
Means bought Sadie as a present for his daughter. She was just supposed to be a pet. But the CBI's first arson dog and his first arson dog Erin was about to retire, so it was time to find another partner.
Erin served the state from 1999 till 2007 when she left CBI in an official capacity.
Means took Sadie to training and says she's been a great dog ever since.
Means' work with both animals inspired him to do something more. He and Georgia Holmes, the owner of Will Run, thought it would be a good idea to create a national memorial celebrating Sadie and Erin's work.
"There wasn't anything out there that recognized this program or these handlers at a national level," Means said. "Let's go big, let's just do it right, right out of the barrel."
This was four years ago. Raising $100,000 was not easy.
"It's been a tough economy to try to raise money for a sculpture, for a symbol if you will, while we're raising money for a symbol, a memorial, monument there's people trying to buy groceries, and I get that," Means said.
For the sculpture, Means decided to work with now 22-year-old Loveland Sculptor Austin Weishel. The sculpture is the likeness of Erin, Means' first dog.
"I started my first monument at 19," Weishel told us.
The 22-year-old says he has two passions, sculpting and firefighting. He's a volunteer at a local department in Northern Colorado.
"Now I get a national project, it's awesome," he said. "I have no words to describe it."
The product of Means' and Weishel's love will be unveiled to the people of Colorado Thursday. The Arson Dog Memorial will then travel across the country, making multiple stops until it arrives in Washington D.C. next week.
It will be displayed at Fire Station #3, close to the nation's Capitol.
State Farm helped Means with his labor of love. The company, along with the American Humane Association (AHA) are co-sponsors for the National Fire Dog Monument Road Show tour as the monument travels from Denver to D.C.
For two decades the company has been providing funding for the acquisition and training of arson dogs in the U.S. and Canada.
"As the nation's largest homeowner insurer, State Farm is well aware of the severity of arson," Team Manager Tom Racine said. "Arson is a very serious problem as each year hundreds of lives are lost and millions of dollars in property damage occurs as a result. We're proud to see the arson dog program and their handlers receive such an honor."
You can follow the monument's travels on this blog.
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