Barbara Marshak Joaquin Guerrero
Author/Speaker Precinct 131,
Minneapolis, MN, August 22, 2011: As America prepares to mark the tenth anniversary of 9/11, the inspiring story of K9 Officer Joaquin Guerrero and his German shepherd partner Rookie is set to be released in this time of remembrance and reflection. Michigan and Rookie: Guardians of the Night shares Rookie’s unwavering service at Ground Zero, and his impact with hundreds of thousands of school kids across Mid-Michigan. Told in the POV of this K9 hero and his partner, the book shines a light on the life of a working police dog.
It’s been said there is no bond greater than between a K9 handler and his partner. In Saginaw, Michigan—a city plagued with gang violence—Officer Joaquin Guerrero sensed God’s call to work the dangerous night streets with his K9 partner, a ninety-pound German shepherd police dog named Rookie. With Rookie as his mascot, Guerrero created Precinct 131, an educational program to keep kids from turning to gangs.
On 9/11, Guerrero and Rookie responded to Ground Zero to help in the search efforts. For seven long days the pair worked “The Pile” with a never-give-up spirit. Because of Guerrero’s unusual first name, a battalion chief nicknamed him “Michigan” for his home state. Following Rookie’s service at Ground Zero, he was included in two studies that tracked the health of 9/11 search-and-rescue (SAR) dogs. An MRI revealed a large cancerous tumor on Rookie’s jaw, most likely from toxins in the crushed tower debris. Despite everyone’s efforts to save Rookie, he died in 2004 and received an honorary memorial service.
“Rookie’s story is just one of a thousand that could be written about a working police dog in America. My hope is to bring recognition to all K9 handlers and their faithful partners,” says Guerrero.
Guerrero partnered with author Barbara Marshak to tell Rookie’s story. “As I thought about the best way to share the bond between man and dog, the idea came to give Rookie a voice,” says Marshak. “Parts of the story are told from Rookie’s perspective.”
Guerrero’s stirring story of goodheartedness and faith was featured in the episode “Native American Heroes” on Hidden Heritage, a documentary-style television program on the cable network RFD-TV in 2010 and received the show’s highest Nielsen ratings.
Guerrero has made thousands of public appearances with his dogs since the inception of Precinct 131. He continues Rookie’s legacy today with Rookie II, another K9-trained German shepherd, having served his community for 22 years. Guerrero’s desire for 2011 is to adapt Precinct 131, now 13 years strong, into Operation Broken Arrow and bring the same type of anti-substance abuse program into Native American communities and schools.
A sought-after K9 trainer/instructor, Guerrero also founded the Apache Acres Training Facility and Kennel in Hemlock, Michigan, where he teaches obedience and K9 training.
Michigan and Rookie is a cop story, a Ground Zero story, a dog story, and a faith story.
Michigan and Rookie: Guardians of the Night
By Joaquin Guerrero
As told to Barbara Marshak.
Beaver’s Pond Press, Minneapolis, MNSeptember 1, 2011
ISBN 13: 978-1-59298-420-6
Available from Ingram, Baker & Taylor, Amazon, and fine booksellers everywhere.