K-9s sniff out narcotics, track down lost children and Alzheimer’s patients, and help cops catch bad guys.
When their shifts are over, they go home. The same home as their human partners where they soon make themselves comfortable… on the couch and in their hearts.
For Officer Joseph Van Pelt of the Holmdel Police Department and K-9 7 DiOGi, it was love at first sight.
“He just walked up to the gate of the crate and licked my face and I said that’s going to be my partner,” Officer Van Pelt remembers.
Officer Van Pelt and DiOGi have been partners for seven years.
DiOGi has won commendations for lifesaving and criminal apprehension.
It’s been an amazing run.
“It’s 100 percent love. It’s 100 percent loyalty. It’s 100 percent dedication to each other. It’s a total, complete bond,” Officer Van Pelt said.
They’re together virtually 24-hours a day, seven days a week. Think about it, is there any co-worker you would want to spend that much time with? But ask any of these officers and they’ll tell that the bond between cop and K-9 is special.
Patriot is in training to be Office Edward Martinez’s new partner. Prior to Patriot, four other dogs have held the post.
He probably knows better than anyone else what Officer Van Pelt is going through.
“I’ve gone through it twice already. With K-9 Angus and K-9 Jerry Lee, and it’s really hard. It’s like losing a family member,” Officer Martinez explains.
It truly is. You see DiOGi is dying. The 8-and-a-half-year-old German Shepard has aggressive and inoperable leukemia.
All of this, a dozen K-9 officers and their partners gathering at Red Bank Veterinary Hospital in Tinton Falls, is for DiOGi.
One last roll call. One final salute.
“He just never left my side,” Officer Van Pelt said.
Far too soon for Officer Van Pelt, DiOGi’s shift is over.
Each of them went home today without his partner.