Middletown police Lieutenant Steve Dollinger remembers the details well:
Red Bank cops needed help investigating a case in which a man was believed to be shipping marijuana hidden in stereo speakers. So they called in Dollinger and Shadow, his canine partner, to execute a search warrant at the massive United Parcel Service facility in Tinton Falls, through which the dope was believed to flow. It wasn’t long before the golden retriever’s wet, black nose led him to a particular box.
“They opened it up, and inside were three five-pound bundles of marijuana, each wrapped with a layer of dryer sheets, shrink-wrap, dryer sheets, shrink-wrap, and a third layer of dryer sheets and shrink-wrap,” Dollinger said. “The speakers were also filled with foam insulation.”
Using the evidence, police did a controlled buy-and-bust, and “they locked up the guy,” Dollinger said.
It was one of thousands such searches and educational demonstrations that Shadow performed in a career that ended earlier this afternoon, when a heavyhearted Dollinger took the ailing 15-year-old dog he calls “my best friend” to be put down because of health issues.