NEW YORK CITY (WABC) -- The national police dog challenge is a first-of-its-kind contest for departments across the country, including the NYPD.
Four-year-old Zada is in her element ... the New York City subway. Right there with her, every step of the way is NYPD Transit Canine Unit Officer Kate Schamberger.
"She's going all the time if I get up, she gets up," Schamberger said.
The pair meticulously glides through the massive transit system. Zada looks for explosives.
The all-female K-9 team was the first with the Transit Bureau.
Zada is named after Officer Irma Lozada, who in 1984 was fatally shot. She was the first female officer killed in the line of duty.
"It's pretty important for us to have her named after her, it's our history as women, it's our history for transit," Schamberger said.
That same pride was recently on full display at the first ever K9 Detection Dog Challenge in Raleigh, North Carolina.
Some of the best of the best in law enforcement took part in the national competition.
"It was definitely nerve wracking, more for me, it was just another day for her," Schamberger said.
The pressure was on. In the end, teams from our area shined. Schamberger and Zada placed third.
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"Right when we got back home, we worked the Thanksgiving Day Parade and so life went back to normal, but it was definitely an exciting highlight of my career," Schamberger said.
This is very much a team dynamic. Each dog is unique and so Schamberger says she has to know how to read Zada and what signs she's giving that something is wrong.
"Sometimes she'll stop breathing or breath in real deep," Schamberger said.
The pair is inseparable, they're even in the upcoming NYPD calendar.
Zada lives with Schamberger. She came into Schamberger's life when she was a pup, just 9 months old.
"She completes me, is my best friend and she is always working hard for me," Schamberger said.
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