MIAMI - Some families are hiring a drug-sniffing dog to search their own house.
Roxy is a trained narcotic-detecting dog who makes house calls. She and her handler, Kristin Maurer, offer a service for parents who suspect their kids are using drugs.
"If you suspect any drug use, you could use this dog and find evidence. If there is some, then have that talk," Maurer said.
Peggy Dwyer said she knows about having that talk. She noticed behavioral changes and problems in her 15-year-old son. She came to realize he was dealing with alcohol abuse.
"When we started to breathalize him, he then switched to pot," Dwyer said.
The Dwyers decided residential treatment was best for the teen. She wanted to make sure nothing was hidden that could cause her son to lapse back into old habits when he left treatment.
Mauer said she has searched hundreds of homes over the years. She said that usually when parents suspect there are drugs in their home, she often finds them.
"My goal is to help parents confirm or deny suspicions without accusing the child of something," Mauer said.
Parents said the proof Roxy finds helps them skip the denials and go straight to a solution.
For legal reasons, Mauer, never sees the drugs herself. She just tells the parents where to look.
"If my dog has alerted on an area, I would say, 'I would look in this spot.' This is completely confidential -- it's between the parents and the children," Mauer said.
She said some parents think they look can search themselves and don't need a drug dog.
"Roxy has found it up in the air-conditioning vent, she's found it behind the air conditioning handler, in the attic, taped on the other side of the attic -- places parents don't think to look," Mauer said.
Mauer said Roxy quickly searches when it would take a parent several days to do a similar search. Often times, Roxy can alert if there were drugs in a spot in the past.
The cost of a search is $500.
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