After years of service, Zeus’ fellow ᴏꜰꜰɪᴄᴇʀs wanted to give him the proper sᴇɴᴅ-ᴏꜰꜰ he deserved. All animals deserve our respect, but Pᴏʟɪᴄᴇ dogs play a particularly honorable role in society. A K9 is specially trained to work with ᴛʜᴇ ᴘᴏʟɪᴄᴇ, and must be incredibly well disciplined to work in high-pressure scenarios. There are several Pᴏʟɪᴄᴇ dog roles in the field, and none of them are particularly easy. The most common K9 job roles are in search and ʀᴇsᴄᴜᴇ, ɴᴀʀᴄᴏᴛɪᴄs and ᴀʀsᴏɴ ᴅᴇᴛᴇᴄᴛɪᴏɴ, and ᴄᴀᴅᴀᴠᴇʀ ᴅᴇᴛᴇᴄᴛɪᴏɴ. Often, a Pᴏʟɪᴄᴇ dog’s input can make a huge difference when it comes to making an ᴀʀʀᴇsᴛ. But these dogs also form close bonds with their Pᴏʟɪᴄᴇ handlers – and that’s why it’s so emotional when a dog has to leave the service for good.
At ᴛʜᴇ Rɪᴅɢᴇꜰɪᴇʟᴅ Pᴏʟɪᴄᴇ Department, a flag was raised at half-stand, and a black cloth was draped above the entrance. Pᴏʟɪᴄᴇ were saying goodbye to a very special member of the team. Zeus, a German Shepherd who served the department for nine years, was given the same emotional sᴇɴᴅ-ᴏꜰꜰ as any human Pᴏʟɪᴄᴇ ᴏꜰꜰɪᴄᴇʀ would have. It would be his ꜰɪɴᴀʟ ride in a Pᴏʟɪᴄᴇ vehicle. A procession of squad cars followed Zeus’ car to the Ridgefield Veterinary Hospital, where he was wheeled through a waiting crowd of servicemen. Speaking before Zeus was taken inside, one officer said:
“It’s with tears in our eyes that we must say goodbye. He wore ᴛʜᴇ Rɪᴅɢᴇꜰɪᴇʟᴅ Pᴏʟɪᴄᴇ badge with respect, pride and dignity.” Zeus had undertaken over 50 tracks for missing or wanted individuals throughout his years of service, locating 6 ᴠɪᴄᴛɪᴍs in life-ᴛʜʀᴇᴀᴛᴇɴɪɴɢ situations and 6 sᴜsᴘᴇᴄᴛs who had fled crime scenes.But now it was time for him to put his leash away for good. The department’s chief, John Roche, described it as a “honor” to be present for Zeus’ ꜰɪɴᴀʟ moments.
He continued, saying: “The sɪᴄᴋɴᴇss had ᴅᴇᴛᴇʀɪᴏʀᴀᴛᴇᴅ him to the point that it was just so difficult for him to exist and move on.” Anyone who has owned a pet for a few decades will understand the sorrow of deciding to put your beloved furry buddy down. But there are situations when it is truly for the best — when an animal’s quality of life has ᴅᴇᴛᴇʀɪᴏʀᴀᴛᴇᴅ to the point where they are no longer happy. Zeus had a ᴛᴇʀʀɪʙʟᴇ ᴅᴇɢᴇɴᴇʀᴀᴛɪᴠᴇ ʜɪᴘ ᴅɪsᴇᴀsᴇ, and his health ᴅᴇᴛᴇʀɪᴏʀᴀᴛᴇᴅ ʀᴀᴘɪᴅʟʏ after he retired from the service. One thing is certain: Although Zeus may be ɢᴏɴᴇ, he is not forgotten. Five years later, the Ridgefield CT Pᴏʟɪᴄᴇ Department expressed in a wonderful Facebook post that they still miss their canine friend. The piece concluded after recounting some of Zeus’ most significant accomplishments:
“Zeus was a valuable member of both our team and our community. He will always be in our hearts and minds, and he will never be forgotten.” Zeus definitely lived a long and happy life, and by the looks of things, he certainly liked his time in the Pᴏʟɪᴄᴇ force. After all, not every dog gets to say they played such a crucial role