Police officers are held in high regarded for their efforts to protect and serve the American people, but their loyal partners often go unrecognized. The canines that make up the K9 unit go through rigorous training in Europe before being purchased by the police department for upwards of $10,000; but their work is far from over after entering the states. Just a few examples of the heroic deeds performed by these loyal servants are: entering burning buildings to extricate civilians, removing injured/endangered police officers from the line of fire, and even attacking suspects who pose a threat to officers and civilians.
While the police dogs that make up the K9 unit are certainly fierce in the line of duty, they are also perfectly capable of building strong relationships, like an ordinary house pet. In fact, some officers argue that these police dogs go beyond the role of the ordinary house pet and become a full-fledged member of the family. Rick Hansen, a Miami-Dade police officer, admits that he even, “takes Christmas pictures with the dog,” and continues to reveal that, “[the dog] interacts with the kids when they are swimming in the pool, he goes in the pool with them.” The most amazing aspect of this bond that has been formed between the partners is that it was formed in such a short amount of time. As most house pet owners can attest to, it takes a very long time to establish a trust- especially if they are adopted at an older age; however, due to the special circumstances under which these partners work, the process is expedited and more effective.
This relationship eventually becomes so strong that the dogs can no longer be seen as ordinary pets. Instead, they evolve into members of the family. Eric Mendez, sergeant of the Miami-Dade Police department, followed in the footsteps of most K9 officers and went so far as to adopt his K9 partner after their retirement. He explained his reasoning (as well as that of other officers) by saying, “how do you repay a dog for that service? If I had to spend thousands of dollars in order to make sure that he would live a very productive life, after retirement, I would go ahead and do so, because the loyalty between him and I- it’s like a father and son.”
It cannot be denied that there is some special bond between the police officer and his loyal K9 partner, a kind of relationship no house pet owner can ever hope to achieve with his/her best friend. That being said, these K9 representatives also go above and beyond the call of duty both in the house and on the field. These dogs have elevated in status to a level no house pet could: a son.
Phillip Bootsma and Sebastian Planas assisted in the production of this video.