Private sector drug detection for schools, treatment centers, businesses and families. 
Arizona Department of Public Safety License #1675027 
Amy Halm - "Avoid trouble by looking for it."

Amy is a big-picture thinker who formerly worked as an executive-level spokesperson in the telecom, high tech and healthcare sectors. She has worked with public, private and nonprofit organizations.

 

So no one was more surprised than her when the simple act of adopting a retired police dog evolved into a successful business detecting narcotics in the private sector. Raised on a working dairy farm, Amy was quite accustomed to having animals as business partners, but drug detection dogs had not been in her career plan until meeting K-9 Dargo.

 

Co-founder Dargo passed on in 2016, but his successors, K-9 Lucy and K-9 Caela, are Amy's new work partners.

 

Amy’s experience in the healthcare industry, and especially her interest in mental health, steered her toward the growing field of addiction recovery, where Desert Drug Dog has been embraced as a key partner in supporting patients through the healing process.

 

Amy holds a Bachelor’s degree in Advertising from Northern Illinois University, where she also studied psychology.


Dana Thelander  "Make today your best day ever!"

Dana has spent her entire career working with animals, in vastly different settings ranging from driving a stagecoach pulled by mules in the tourism industry to protecting life and property at a Level 1 trauma center as a K-9 Patrol Officer. Along the way she also worked as a veterinary technician, a professional dog (and people) trainer, and as a 911 Operator/Dispatcher for the Colorado State Patrol.

 

Through all of these jobs she honed the skills she uses now as a professional narcotics dog handler. Her hospital background and positive attitude are highly valued at the treatment centers where patients are often struggling with the challenges of new recovery. Her trauma center and emergency dispatch experiences give her the sensitivity and empathy that are so key when working in the field of addiction.

 

In addition to handling and training detection dogs, Dana holds a certificate in graphic arts from a local college and works at a design and printing company. As such she is our go-to person for the design of our marketing materials. In her spare time, Dana is the Supreme Aunt of Choice with her four young nieces and nephews and loves spending time with her family.

 

George Daniolos  -  "We don't just get what we want - we only get what we reinforce."

George Daniolos is owner and director of training at K-9 Defense, LLC. He is the Lead Trainer on contract for the Maricopa County Sheriff's Office K-9 Unit, helping them develop a science-based training program for their patrol and detection dogs. He is also Master Trainer at BNSF Railways Police Department K-9 Unit. George has titled, trained, raised and developed champion dogs for personal protection, law enforcement, private security and the military.

 

With this background, it is a privilege to have George on the team at Desert Drug Dog, as our dogs receive the same high caliber training as the best police dogs. George’s practice of consistently using rewards-based training is evident in the way our dogs work—they are effective, happy and confident in the search, and social with people. 

 

George holds a Bachelor of Criminal Justice degree from Northern Arizona University and is a much sought-after instructor and speaker by law enforcement, military and civilian organizations. His articles appear frequently in Police K-9 Magazine and K-9 Cop Magazine.

Crystal Priorello --  

“Sometimes being in the right place at the right time (with the right people) is all it takes to change the direction of your life!”

In 2016, Crystal adopted a puppy and enrolled in obedience classes. Enjoying success with weekly sessions, she began training daily with longtime friend George Daniolos of K-9 Defense. It was at one of these sessions that Crystal met Amy Halm of Desert Drug Dog and felt an immediate connection. 

Time off from her career as a Real Estate Analyst allowed her to explore her new-found love for working with canines. In addition to titling her own dog Indy in multiple AKC events, she was inspired by the high-drive working dogs. It wasn't long before the pieces fell into place for Crystal to become a professional handler. Putting real estate aside, she followed her passion of working with canines and joined Desert Drug Dog.

Crystal's experience volunteering for Free Arts of Arizona with children in foster care, group homes and treatment facilities is a perfect background for her new role. Her empathy and desire to help people through difficult times come into play daily on the job at Desert Drug Dog. She and her K-9 Partner Widow are a great addition to the team.

When she isn't training or giving back to the community in some way, Crystal loves traveling with her husband Sal and dog Indy.