I started my love for German Shepherds with my Grandfather Fred Conkle’s dog “Daisy”. I always thought she was the most awesome dog and I wanted a dog like her someday. Years later he helped me find a pup which I raised and kept for many years but never really knew how to work with them. So once I became part of the Wapakoneta Police Department I saw the dogs in the department and knew I would like to do that sometime when the chance arose. So my K-9 career began in 1985 as a handler for Wapakoneta Police Department with my first dog “Buster”. We trained under Sheriff Charles Harrod and Inspector Dan Protsman from the Allen County Sheriff’s Office. We trained with many fine handlers and dog teams during that era.
In 1992 I helped raise the funds locally which allowed us to obtain our firsts imported dog from Holland. His name was ” Cay”. We trained “Cay” in-house and he became State Certified and began working with me for the Wapakoneta Police Department as a Patrol/ Narcotics team, which was rare in those days to have a cross trained team. Due to “Cays” abilities we as an agency grew and at one point had 5 dog teams in the Department. Cay later suffered medical issues which forced us to retire him from Narcotics work, so I trained my 3rd dog “Roxy” for Narcotics Only.
In 1999 I was asked to train new Explosives dog teams for the Allen County Sheriff’s Office and I decided to train my 4th partner at that time as well. So K-9 Charly then came into the fold. Upon completion of his training, he was also State Certified and began working for Wapakoneta Police Department. I was later offered a job working with the dogs at the Allen County Sheriff’s Office, so I left Wapakoneta and started my career at the Allen County Sheriff’s Office as a Patrol/ Explosives dog team handler. K9 Charly was such a tremendous Explosives dog, he was detailed out numerous times to the Secret Service for Presidental details, and we were deployed to the World Trade Center after 9/11 for assitance there. Charly and I won a Medal of Valor award for his work at the World Trade Center and was awarded a citation from the then Governor Taft. Charly and I retired from the Allen County Sheriff’s Office in 2003 due to health reasons.
Since 2003 I have operated Von der Haus Gill German Shepherds Inc full time, attended training schools in Germany, served on several National Police K-9 Executive Boards, and on the Board of Governors for Homeland Security Professionals. We still actively train Police K-9 teams throughout the year and do a few select private client’s dogs as time allows. I still travel to Germany many times a year searching for dogs for Police Dog Canidates and Private Clients dogs. We never settle for the average. We are always looking to improve our breeding program and facility. Today our facility has bred over 170 litters of puppies, or 900 puppies+, and imported app 3500 adult dogs from Europe. We have trained 1000’s of dogs over the years and have had 96 plus Police Training academy classes. This is not a hobby or part-time job/income. This is what we do every day of the year and have for 35 years and counting.
Al Retired from the day to day operations of Von der haus Gill German Shepherds Inc. January 1, 2024. He is still working as an advisor and assistant to Matt & Amy.