Nark Dogs: A look into the life of Noblesville High School’s narcotic sniffing canines

Nina Scroggin, Business Manager

As the sun begins to rise and the birds begin singing their morning song, most of the world is still fast asleep, tucked away in their warm bed sheets. However, unlike most, Larissa Borders can be found peeing in the yard of her beloved family in the wee hours of the morning. 

    At the ripe time of six a.m., Larissa, a one-year old Border Collie, truly begins her day after using the world’s outhouse. Her morning is filled with lots of stretching as her trainer, Todd Borders, helps to prepare her for a long day at school.  While most students are learning their ABC’s or how to find the missing side of a triangle, one-year old Larissa is spending her time at school searching for what most would consider largely dangerous for a smaller sized breed. Drugs. 

Larissa’s strong nose, sensitive ears, and joyful nature not only defined her Border Collie blood, but also made her the perfect candidate for the job of detecting dangerous substances. She was exactly the dog Todd Borders was looking for. 

“She was selected for training due to her strong hunt drive plus her ability to be a social dog. She was then purchased by Vohne Liche Kennels which is a police dog training kennel here in Indiana,” said Borders. “I selected Larissa because she is an amazingly great detection dog plus she’s so cute and I knew students and staff would fall in love with her.”

At just a few weeks old, Larissa began the stages of training that would help her to protect Noblesville Schools. 

“The way Larissa alerts me to the presence of the odor of firearms or narcotics is she immediately sits and sticks her nose as close to the source of the odor as she possibly can. It’s her way of saying, ‘here it is!’” said Borders. “She does this whether she detects firearms or narcotics.”

At the start of her day, Larissa arrives at one of the elementary schools in the Noblesville district and does a routine check around the campus. 

“Larissa smells for the odor of firearms and narcotics as the students enter the building.  After the students are in their classes, Larissa patrols the hallways detecting for any residual odor of any firearms or narcotics,” Borders said. 

Later on, Borders and Larissa travel over to the high school to repeat the routine, with additional checks around lockers and in the student parking lot. 

However, Larissa’s job doesn’t end when the last bell of the school day rings. Pep rallies and game days are things that Larissa never has to miss out on. While most students are found in the student section yelling at the top of their lungs, either cheering on the Millers or scolding the referees, Larissa is found doing her routine checks around the perimeter, ensuring that each student gets to have a fun and safe experience at after school activities. 

“On those days, we arrive a few hours before the event and search the stands or bleachers.  We search trash cans, lockers, or anywhere someone might try to hide anything illegal. As the spectators enter the facility, Larissa detects them for the odor of firearms and narcotics,” Borders said.

While Larissa’s job can be deemed intense and routine, she does get time to be the dog that everyone loves outside of the job.

“Outside of work, Larissa is like all dogs. She loves attention. She loves being petted and she loves licking the face of whoever is petting her,” Borders said. “She loves to exercise by going on walks and running an obstacle course.”

Though Larissa Borders may not be your average narcotic and firearm detecting dog, her high spirits and loving personality keep the students happy and comfortable in an environment that can sometimes be deemed stressful. Her young and playful character allows her to keep a healthy balance between her work life and her routine back home with her handler that she has come to know as a significant figure within her daily life. 

This year, students who travel through the halls or athletic fields can find the dynamic duo working to keep the students of Noblesville Schools safe. Or in Larissa’s case, the underdog.