Trinity-Pawling alumni and trustee Tom Ahrensfeld ’73

Tom and Becca Ahrensfeld come from families with a long history in law enforcement and firefighting. So wherever the couple has lived, they make a point to support the local police and fire departments. “If you’re wearing a badge and helping people out,” Tom states, “we’ll help you out.”

The Ahrensfelds, who split time between their homes in Cape Cod and Key West, recently showed their support for the Key West Police Department with an unusual offering: a handsome German Shepherd named Jigsaw. Tom had heard that the department needed to replace another dog who was ready to retire from his loyal service in a K9 unit.

The highly specialized training of a K9 unit – dog and human partner – can cost up to $35,000. The dog alone comes with a price tag of $15,000. Pups are born and raised in Germany or Austria, then shipped to the United States where they undergo six months of intensive training, conducted in German. Upon successful completion of this rigorous course, the dogs meet their working partner who moves to the K9 site. For the next four to six weeks, the officer and dog will continue the intensive training (the officer must learn commands in German) and bond as a certified team. From the moment they meet, a K9 unit lives together and becomes inseparable, until the dog retires or is tragically injured in the line of duty.

The Ahrensfelds chose the name Jigsaw because of the Key West Police Department’s deep involvement in the Autism Society of the Keys, whose logo is a blue puzzle piece. Jigsaw is now two years old, and Officer Tommy Anglin could not be more grateful for his beautiful, brilliant, and faithful K9 partner. Tom and Becca share that deep love for animals: their Cape Cod farm is a peaceable kingdom that includes retired horses, goats, donkeys, laying hens, and ducks. And of course, four dogs.

by Maria Buteux Reade