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Meet Zach

Zach the black lab looking up

Zach is a three-year-old American Black Lab. Zach was selected for the B.S.U.P.D. by the Massachusetts State Police K9 training cadre assigned to the Fire and Explosives Investigation Unit. The trainers travelled to New York to visit and assess Zach, where he was being raised by Puppies Behind Bars- an organization that trains prison inmates to raise service dogs for first responders. Zach’s high energy and great food-drive made him the perfect candidate for the explosives detection K9 program. Puppies Behind Bars donated Zach to the B.S.U.P.D. and the journey began.

Captain Ryan Tepper, BSUPD Patrol Bureau Commander, was selected as Zach’s handler. Both Zach and Captain Tepper attended the 12-week Massachusetts State Police Explosive Detection K9 training academy. At the completion of the training, Zach and Captain Tepper were certified as an explosive detection team, prepared to serve the BSU community and, working closely with the MA State Police Bomb Squad, the state of Massachusetts as a whole.

Zach the explosive detection k9 at the Boston Marathon with runners in background
Zach at the Boston Marathon.

Residing with Captain Tepper and his family, Zach has maintained a very busy lifestyle. Zach trains 7-days a week as a food reward dog. Trained on over 40 different odors, Zach must search and find those odors to be rewarded with his daily meals. Following training, Zach embarks on a day of work. His day-to-day consists of visiting with members of the BSU community, attending events, conducting protective sweeps, and responding to incidents as needed. In his first year, Zach was invited to attend over 100 events with the community while being called upon for his detection skills on 20 separate occasions.

Zach loves the work that he performs, both in explosives detection and community outreach. At the end of the day, he is thrilled to return home to his family where he gets to spend time with the Captain’s three daughters and other two family dogs. His favorite activities are playing fetch, playing tug of war with anything, and searching for his odors.

To book an event with Zach, email

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Zach being held by Captain Tepper and standing with patrol officers.