K-9 Dreams

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Michael Daugherty and Minka

Dogs figure prominently in grad’s life and future

KENNESAW, Ga. (Dec 15, 2016) — The love of dogs lies at the nexus of Michael Daugherty’s passion and life’s ambition. The criminal justice major and honor student, who graduates this week , looks forward to a military or law enforcement career in which he works with dogs. His volunteer work fostering and helping to rehabilitate abused and injured K-9s for Georgia German Shepherd Rescue has been the perfect segue.

“I always loved dogs, and I really wanted to have one but couldn’t because I was so busy and in and out of temporary housing,” said Daugherty, who stays on the go between being a full-time student, a member of the U.S. Marine Corps Reserves, the KSU Student Emergency Response Team and Kennesaw State Police Department Explorers, as well as a part-time shift closer at O’Charley’s Restaurant.

Fostering became a way for Daugherty to have close contact with the dogs he loved. For nine months, he worked intensively to rehabilitate Minka, an abused German shepherd mix that had been hit by a car. Since 2015, he has logged more than 750 hours fostering Minka and one other dog for the organization.

“Minka was in really bad shape,” Daugherty said. “She had been severely abused and the accident left her with a steel plate and nine pins in her femur. By the time she was adopted by a family in Cartersville, she was able to run four miles, jump and finally mingle with people again. It’s taught me that I really want to work with dogs.”

Daugherty sees the work he has done with rescue and research as beneficial for local, state and federal law enforcement.

“There are K-9 handlers in law enforcement and in the military, but there hasn’t been a lot of research on the best way to train the dogs,” said Daugherty, whose senior seminar paper addressed the issue. “Training dogs is an up-and-coming field, and that’s where I think I can make a contribution.”

Daugherty has made strides towards his career as one of five in the nation selected to intern with the Department of Homeland Security Federal Law Enforcement Training Center in Glynco, Georgia. During the summer 2016 internship, he was assigned to the Training Research and Innovation Division, which gave him a chance to supervise the updating of virtual reality simulations, assist with firearms training, set up a wireless microphone system and research firearms applications.

Since joining the Marine Reserves right out of high school in 2011, Daugherty has also acquired numerous certifications, including ground radio repair technician, ammunition technician, basic electronic theory, security guard, community emergency response, CPR and AED applications and secret security. He is currently enrolled in a nine-month training at Faithful Guardian Training Center for EMT certification.

An accounting minor and member of the Beta Alpha Psi International Accounting Honor Society, Daugherty also sees great potential in the marriage of his major and minor studies.  

“Terrorism is a major area of investigations, and it’s a business. So, when it comes to terrorism, as everyone knows, you follow the money.”

-- Sabbaye McGriff

Photos by David Caselli


A leader in innovative teaching and learning, Kennesaw State University offers undergraduate, graduate and doctoral degrees to its nearly 43,000 students. With 11 colleges on two metro Atlanta campuses, Kennesaw State is a member of the University System of Georgia. The university’s vibrant campus culture, diverse population, strong global ties and entrepreneurial spirit draw students from throughout the country and the world. Kennesaw State is a Carnegie-designated doctoral research institution (R2), placing it among an elite group of only 6 percent of U.S. colleges and universities with an R1 or R2 status. For more information, visit kennesaw.edu