Man starts business with drug-sniffing Jack Russell
by Lindsay Field
January 28, 2013 12:11 AM | 6573 views | 5 5 comments | 23 23 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Blake Blomquist demonstrates how his 2-year-old broken-coat Jack Russell Terrier, Rogue, searches for a ‘controlled substance’ in his home in Acworth. Rogue jumps after finding the substance and is about to receive his toy as a reward. Rogue works as a drug-sniffing dog for private clients of Blomquist’s company, Discreet K9 LLC.<br>Staff/Emily Barnes
Blake Blomquist demonstrates how his 2-year-old broken-coat Jack Russell Terrier, Rogue, searches for a ‘controlled substance’ in his home in Acworth. Rogue jumps after finding the substance and is about to receive his toy as a reward. Rogue works as a drug-sniffing dog for private clients of Blomquist’s company, Discreet K9 LLC.
Staff/Emily Barnes
ACWORTH — Acworth resident Blake E. Blomquist doesn’t have to wait for June 22.

For him, every day can be Take Your Dog to Work Day.

He takes his 2-year-old Jack Russell terrier, Rogue, to call on residences, offices and private schools where his clients suspect the use of cocaine, marijuana, methamphetamine and heroin.

Blomquist, 42, owns the Forest Park cemetery Forest Hills Memorial Gardens and headstone-maker Interstate Memorial Services.

It took one too many deaths to encourage the husband and father to become the certified handler of a drug-sniffing dog.

Blomquist said a friend lost his 17-year-old daughter to a drug overdose.

“I remember going through that with him, and the biggest thing that was so hard was even when he suspected, when all the signs were there, he could never prove anything,” he said.

The trick, Blomquist said, is to get evidence, not necessarily to bring about an arrest, but enough to stage an intervention.

“Wouldn’t it be great if you could have someone bring in a dog to your house and get the proof you need? This answered all the questions,” Blomquist said.

He said there is a market for drug detection by civilians certified to standards set by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency.

“I’m not the first one, but I’m the first one that’s non-law enforcement that trainers train on actual drugs at a DEA-certification facility,” he said.

Blomquist and Rogue earned their stripes at Custom Canine Unlimited in Maysville, where trainer A.J. Vargas put them through their paces for 70 hours over the course of four months.

“I remember the first day I was all left feet,” Blomquist said. “There was so much more to it than what met the eye; more than I anticipated.”

The intense sessions comprised just the instructor, one handler and one dog.

“A lot of it was learning how to read your dog and become a team,” Blomquist said. “You need to pick up on the body language they exhibit when they’re in odor, when they can smell one of those four controlled substances.”

Each dog is different, Blomquist said, in how he or she displays a “final trained response,” the canine equivalent of pointing.

“Rogue is trained very specifically to locate the source of the odor,” Blomquist said. “Once he’s found that, he’ll back up, sit and look at the source and look at me, back and forth.”

Next comes Rogue’s reward — a green dog toy.

“He has this insatiable desire to get that toy,” Blomquist said. “This toy is his paycheck.”

Nearly perfect

Rogue earns the paycheck nearly 100 percent of the time, his master said.

“His accuracy rate is over 99.9 percent. That’s documented,” Blomquist said. “He doesn’t false alert.”

The diminutive dog keeps a lower profile than K9 police officers, which are often of the German shepherd or Belgian Malinois breeds.

“We wanted a small breed dog, my wife Jennifer and I, instead of a typical big police dog,” Blomquist said.

“I knew I would be taking him into people’s houses, or a school, or where they might have a house cat.”

At the Blomquist house, there are four children ages 6 through 19, a rat terrier, 10, named Girlie and a Chihuahua, 5, named Cowboy.

But there is a special place for the doggie detective.

“The children think it’s great,” Blomquist said. “My 6-year-old daughter Leah calls him Mr. Handsome.”

Smaller is better

Rogue’s appearance plays a role in Blomquist’s business plan, said his trainer Vargas, who relies on a nonconfrontational style.

Because Rogue doesn’t raise anyone’s hackles, Blomquist gets the benefit.

“He wanted something that would be very accepting in the private sector,” Vargas said. “If children or teens were suspected, he didn’t want intimidation to play any part in the services he provided.”

Because of his unassuming appearance, Vargas said, Rogue may get a better reception than a larger, more official-looking dog.

“Blake could take it anywhere, pick it up and carry it,” Vargas said about the Jack Russell breed. “He could go anywhere with it and not have any ill will,”

The student has become the master of his niche, Vargas said, dominating a very uncrowded market.

“There are a couple similar companies in Georgia, just not at the level that Blake has taken it to. He has taken extra steps,” Vargas said.

“He wanted to make sure he met all the training requirements. He wanted to satisfy all the case law requirements. If it ever came to court, he could provide the best documentation.”

Vargas said Blomquist is equal parts entrepreneur and philanthropist.

“Of course in any business you want to make money, but he wanted to fill a void in the community,” Vargas said.
Comments-icon Post a Comment
Yes, But.....
January 28, 2013
But can Rogue detect high-fructose corn syrup in foods or if a teenager has been texting while they drive? Maybe the next dog.

Notice, there was no mention of the cost for the service. I'll bet just about everyone thought about that while reading the article. On purpose or just the typical level of reporting we're used to around here.

Blake Blomquist
February 14, 2013
Free - $99.00/hr. - A Bargain For Twice The Price!
great idea
January 28, 2013
I love this! It is an example of what people can do without any kind of government help! This man had a wonderful idea and put it into action. The fact that he came up with a small (but smart) breed of dog was brilliant!
Blake Blomquist
February 14, 2013
Thanks for the "KUDOS"!!!
July 20, 2014
how do we reach him to buy his service?
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