DAVIDSON – Off-duty, she’s just like any other dog playing with a tennis ball, getting pet by youngsters and taking walks. But while on-duty, Davidson Police K-9 Maky is the kind of animal suspects don’t want to meet.

Joining the Davidson police force last fall, Maky is partnered with K-9 handler Officer G. Frostbutter to track suspects, sniff out narcotics and aid apprehension, among other skills.

“She lives to work,” Frostbutter said. “Working for her is a game. What’s stressful for us is a game for her. She works for rewards — praise from me or a tennis ball.”

The pair met last September for the first day of training at a facility near Wilmington. Maky was a 2-year-old puppy, brought in from Holland and paid for by an anonymous donor. For eight weeks, the pair got to know each other while learning their missions.

“The type of work she does, I like,” Frostbutter said of why he wanted to be a K-9 handler. “The companionship with the animal is neat.”

They learned to track in a variety of environments, including a battleship, Humvees, planes and other vehicles. Based on which collar or harness she’s wearing, Maky knows what her job will be, getting out of the car with her nose to the ground. She can sniff out people from an article of clothing, alert officers where suspects are hiding or point out where potential illegal drugs are hidden.

“She’s an extension of our capability — a dramatic extension,” he said.

Since coming to Davidson, Frostbutter said Maky is used daily, not just in town, but with outside agencies, including at the airport for added security.

“She is an officer just as much as I’m an officer,” Frostbutter said, adding people can be arrested for assaulting her and that there are laws in place for the protection of police K-9s.

Maky is also regularly taken into Davidson schools, thanks to her “perfect personality." At home, she loves her toys, playing tug-of-war with a fire hose and wrestling with Frostbutter in the backyard. While she gets treats on occasion, Frostbutter said, he wants to ensure she stays healthy.

“I work with her on basic training and let her spend time with my wife and the kids for social training,” he said. “We take walks and play games. It’s things you do with any animal. She’s a member of the family, and we treat her as such.

“Maky is a wonderful addition to the department and my family.”