Officers who work with the K-9 program believe they always have the best partners in the world. Their partners, after all, are dogs.
The dogs are with them all day at work, then they go home with them at night and spend their family time together as well.
Most K-9 dog cops are considered part of the policeman’s family. That’s why it was so hard on his family when K-9 Patrol Sergeant Mike Pershall was killed. Mike’s partner, a Belgian Malinois named Ike had been like part of the family since he and Mike had first started riding together.
Now, Mike’s widow and his kids were losing not only a dad and husband, but they were going to lose their dog as well. See, trained K-9 police dogs come with a hefty price tag. It takes a long time, a lot of training and a lot of special care to turn a fluffy cute puppy into a trained guardian. When a policeman retires, is killed or decides to leave the force, his dog is immediately partnered with another cop.
The family knew that as soon as the funeral was behind them, someone would be coming to take Ike away. They held him close and grieved for him along with their fallen loved one.
Mike (yes, Mike and Ike) had been killed while bicycling near their home. Detectives believe it was likely a drunk driver, who didn’t stop.
Then the family got wonderful news. No one could bring back Mike to their family. But, it was possible that Ike wasn’t going to have to leave.
Police Chief Galen Carroll spoke in front of the Modesto City Council on Ike’s behalf. He said that in usual circumstances Ike would be assigned to a new partner.
But, he added, this wasn’t “usual circumstances.” During their time as partners, Pershall and Ike spent all of their time together – both on duty and at home. Ike has been the officer’s family pet for two years.
Mike hadn’t died in the line of duty, but he had been taken from the family while in service to Modesto. And, although nothing could bring Mike back, he would like to see Ike continue to live with the Pershall family.
Carroll acknowledged that the decision to retire a 3-year-old K9 may not be popular with everyone since police dogs typically work until they are 8 – 10 and cost the Police Department around $9,000. Carroll said regardless of the cost, giving Ike to the Pershalls was the right thing to do.
“It is not a good deal for the Police Department to lose the dog,” Carroll stated in an interview last week. “But there is also the human factor. You have a wife and two kids who just lost their dad, and that’s the family dog. What is the right thing to do?”
In a meeting full of emotion, the council unanimously voted to “sell” Ike to the Pershall family for $1. The sale was a formality in order to legally transfer ownership of the dog.
According to Carroll, several community members have offered to donate toward the department’s purchase of another police dog. The chief intends to speak with the Modesto Police Canine Association, who paid for their last canine officer.
We hope that Ike will continue to be happy with his new “day job.” Helping take care of the family that his partner Mike left behind. There is no greater badge of honor for a dog to wear.
Source: I Heart Dogs