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Rudyard Schools welcome Gator, a new K9 safety dog

RUDYARD — Gator, an adorable 14-month-old yellow lab, isn’t just a cute addition to Rudyard Area Schools. He is also trained to search for firearms and explosives, and provide emotional support for staff and students.

Gator is part of the Zebra K9 safety dog team from Waterford and is handled by Rudyard resident and alumnus Carlos Molina.

Rudyard is the second school district in the Upper Peninsula to use K9s in school after St. Ignace.


Molina and Gator trained for 12 months before starting their new job together. On Tuesday morning, they welcomed everyone back from spring break.

“It’s been a really fun experience. It’s all stuff that was kind of new to me from my previous background. All this stuff was new,” said Molina.

The program is completely grant funded through the 31aa grant from the state, which is given for safety, security and mental wellness in schools.

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