Happy Saturday, and always a good time to Feel Good, even if it’s not a Friday. I apologize for missing my usual Friday missive. St. Patrick’s Day offered up a series of unfortunate events, one of them involving my 17-year-old SUV. This is our best working automobile, and we have plans to use it on our exploration journey across the country to scope out a state in which to retire. So, for the car to go “toes up” before that happened would have been a bit of a stress.
The good news is that it was a simple fix, and the old girl, who I call Lightnin’, is doing just fine and she’s ready to roll for our trip next week. Lightnin’ has a special history: it is the first car my husband and I bought together, and we have driven it on many adventures through California, Nevada, New Mexico, and Arizona. This will be the first cross-country journey we’ve taken in her. I have scheduled maintenance and tune up before we go, but even with this hiccup, my mechanic is confident she’ll do just fine.
The bad news is, I had hours waiting on the resolution without my laptop; hence, I didn’t get a whole lot of essential work done, including this article. But in line with retirement and hours waiting, it did give me an opportunity to dive into my favorite time suck: dog videos. My Instagram and Facebook feeds are full of rescue organizations, people who take in special needs and senior dogs, and K-9 dogs.
If social media serves any good purpose, this would be it. With two senior dogs myself, I am always heartened by the love and care shown to these precious furbies, which most people overlook or feel have outlived their usefulness. In particular to K-9 dogs, their bravery, loyalty, and life-saving skills is beyond amazing, and the bond between them and their handlers is especially meaningful. So, when they retire, it’s a special and touching moment, even for the sweet dogs. Here is a nice sampling from the Midwest, the South, and the Pacific Northwest.
The first one is K-9 Tek from Dodge County, Wisconsin, who retired on March 3.
From The Daily Dodge:
(Juneau) As the Dodge County Sheriff’s Office welcomes a new K-9 to their ranks, another K-9 has completed its last shift. K-9 Tek officially retired on Friday.
“Lieutenant [Taylor] Nehls will take Tek home and we’re still working out all those details. He will retire on the Nehls homestead,” says Sheriff Dale Schmidt.
On Tek’s last day, Dodge County dispatch had a special message for the K-9 and his handler Lieutenant Taylor Nehls.
“We would like to thank K-9 Tek for his thirty-eight-and-a-half dog years, otherwise known as five-and-a-half-years of distinguished service to the Dodge County Sheriff’s Office and to your handler Lieutenant Nehls. Thank you Tek for serving the citizens of Dodge County with over 98 arrests, 314 deployments, and carrying the safety of our deputies and other agencies each and every shift. And making sure your partner went home safely every night.”
Schmidt says Tek has been a valued member of their agency and will be truly missed. Tek was a member of the sheriff’s office SWAT team, Drug Task Force, and enjoyed giving numerous presentations to surrounding schools and community events. The sheriff’s office will be losing another K-9 as Kid is set to retire at the end of June.
K-9 Jester from Walton County, Florida served five years with his handler Deputy Damon Byrd. Jester retired on March 1, and there is some really impressive video of him in action, in what appear to be some tense and dangerous situations.
K-9 Vilo retired in late 2022 from the Orem Police Department in Utah. His story is a particular tear-jerker.
Vilo, a seven-year-old Belgian Malinois and German Shepherd Mix, had served five years in the Orem Police Department.
On his final day of service for Orem PD, handler Quinten Schroemges called in to dispatch one final time, recording the conversation as colleagues gave Vilo a fitting send-off.
Vilo had two prior handlers before Quinten Schroemges, so the two did not immediately bond. But once they did, it was quite a special one.
“I don’t know what it was.
I don’t know if it was just because I ended up just loving the crap out of him right off the bat and I don’t know if he could feel that to where we just bonded really well and worked well together.
Some of the situations, it is life and death, and there’s some situations to where you know you could lose him to where you send him to do something.”
Schroemges wasn’t even sure at the time that he would be the person to whom Vilo would be released.
“So, his send off was pretty emotional for me. At that time, I also kind of thought I was losing him and I didn’t know if I was going to get him.”
Thankfully, after a few months of being apart, Vilo got to come home with Handler Schroemges and join his two other dogs to be a part of the family pack.
“It’s nothing but love and goodness for another being that’s here. I really wish everybody could experience it.”
I wish they could, too. Our pack have given us nothing but love and goodness, and we try to return it in kind. As I have mentioned in prior weeks Feel-Good Fridays, growing older may involve slowing down, but it need mean becoming invisible, or worse, being discarded. That is why my video pastime gives me joy and hope. These lovely K-9s served their counties, cities, and handlers well. Thanks to these loving humans adopting them into their families, they now get to live out the rest of their days embarking on new adventures with oodles of love and goodness in between.
As it should be for all of us, human or canine.