Like any dog, Humphrey loves a day at the park and playing fetch with his pal Greg.
“He’s with me 24-7,” said his handler Greg Chapa.
But this isn’t just your run-of-the-mill tale about man’s best friend.
Humphrey—like a super hero--- comes with his very own super vest, poster and even trading cards.
In fact—Chapa would say—Humphrey has super “powers.”
“All I have to do is tell him what I want him to do, the dog will do everything he can to help me do what I need to do,” said Chapa.
Humphrey, is the Houston Fire Department’s new rookie.
He’s trained to sniff out where flames may have started.
“You go into a big building, one room, a huge room and they’re there just to find, detect accelerant underneath all the fire debris,” said Chapa.
His nose is fine-tuned for crime fighting.
“You know we smell a hamburger as a hamburger,” said Chapa. He added, “A dog can smell the lettuce, the tomato, they can smell the onion, the meat, the bun. They smell all the different pieces of the hamburger.”
Humphrey joined the force just months ago after Chapa’s other super-dog, Oliver, hung up his cape.
“I’m used to Oliver working a slow and steady pace,” said Chapa. He added, “This young dog is real energetic and it’s hard to keep up with him. He can’t sit still.”
Oliver was on the job for eight years.
“I’ve never been this close to a dog,” said Chapa.
Both Humphrey and Oliver trained for three months at a special academy in Virginia.
The ATF provides the money and training for these dogs.
“People think a dog is a bomb-sniffing dog and a drug-sniffing dog and an accelerant dog,” said Nicole Strong with the ATF. “In fact, dogs, just like people, have specialties. These accelerant K-9s are a very specialized field of accelerant dogs. If you want a bomb sniffing dog you go to a different dog.”
And--- there are only a handful of these specially trained K-9’s like Humphrey and Oliver in the country.
“I’ll tell you why it’s a big deal, for the city of Houston. They get this national resource of which there is very few in America as well as abroad in the city of Houston in their city to investigate cases,” said Strong.
But at the end of the day, after Humphrey and Oliver’s superhero work for the city is over, they are after all...Chapa’s best friends.
“As soon as I get home, I sit down on the couch, relax and watch some TV and they’re sitting right there at my foot,” said Chapa. “If I get up to go somewhere else, they get right up and follow me.”