‘He’s in His Terrible Twos’: K9 Dog Lito Starts at NCPD


NCPD K9 dog Lito. Photo courtesy of New Canaan Police

Following a three-month stint at the K9 Academy, there’s a new New Canaan Police Department dog in town.

The 19-month old German shepherd dog, Lito, is named after the late father of NCPD K9 Officer Sebastian Obando.

NCPD Officer Sebastian Obando with his late father, Raul Miguelito “Lito” Obando. Photo courtesy of NCPD

“He was named after my father who passed away when I was a brand-new officer, right out of the Academy,” Obando told NewCanaanite.com on a recent afternoon. “My father’s nickname was ‘Miguelito’—that’s what his brothers and sisters would call him. So I just shortened it up. His full name was Raul Miguelito Obando.”

Lito, who was born in Slovakia, will join Obando on the road following certification in narcotics detection, tracking, and patrol.

Lito’s predecessor, retired K9 dog Apollo, had largely assisted on the drugs side with marijuana detection—a function that is not needed to the same extent with the drug’s decriminalization in the state. 

NCPD K9 dog Lito. Photo courtesy of New Canaan Police

Asked about Lito’s training, Obando noted that he’s “still certified in narcotics.”

“It’s no longer marijuana, but it’s all the other illegal narcotics like cocaine, heroin, meth, MDMA [ecstasy],” he said. “But he’s also certified in tracking. So that’s a wide range of things. We could be looking to locate a missing kid who ran away from home, or we could be looking to locate someone with dementia that wandered off. Their aides have no idea where he or she went. And then, on the other side, it’s also locating suspects that may have just committed a crime. And when it gets to that suspect, Lito is also trained to be what we call a ‘patrol dog.’ So, apprehension. If he [the suspect] is being combative or he’s holding a weapon or something, we are trained to employ Lito to apprehend the suspect, to mitigate further casualties or further injuries to officers or any innocent bystanders.”

The dog himself is “very energetic,” Obando said.

NCPD K9 dog Lito. Photo courtesy of New Canaan Police

“He’s still very young,” he said. “Not like Apollo, where I got him later on in his life. He was an adult. With Lito, it’s like he’s in his ‘terrible twos’ because he’s very curious and energetic. So the second he comes out of the crate or the second he gets out of the car, he wants to know what’s around him, what’s going on. And he’s excited. So that brings me some joy in life.”

The department intends to have Lito mix with members of the wider community as he undergoes further training, Obando said.

“We completed the Academy, but there’s still a lot of unknown that he hasn’t seen yet,” he said. “A lot of the work that we have to do is ‘environmentals,’ getting him used to things that he’s not used to, like firescapes or being around 20 kids. Apollo was used to that, so it was easier for Apollo to be around that. So for right now I’m still trying to get Lito up and running with the environmentals. But I’ve been in contact with the community impact officer. She’s been in contact with me regarding getting him involved with the YMCA during camps in the summer. And hopefully with the schools, we could do some demonstrations, as well, when school comes back in September. So it’s still going to be the same. We want to keep the dog on a community level. We want the support of the community. We want people to love Lito like they loved Apollo. And we want people to know that yes, he’s a work dog, but he’s still a dog. And he wants to have fun. He wants to enjoy himself. And I look forward to showing him off to the community.”

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