Two four-legged police department veterans — Sultan, of Yarmouth, Maine and Judge, of West Deptford Township, N.J. — received farewells befitting the beloved heroes as they made their final trips to their veterinarians this month.
Sultan, a 13-year-old German Shepherd, was Yarmouth, Maine’s first police dog. During his 10-year career, he and his only partner, officer Mike Vogel, captured dozens of suspects and seized more than 100 pounds of narcotics as well as thousands of dollars in cash across southern Maine, according to the Portland Press Herald.
“He’s such a proud dog, always watching,” Vogel told the Press Herald. When Vogel moved to Florida in 2012, Sultan retired and went to live with another officer, Shane Stevenson.
About six months ago, Sultan started having seizures, which became progressively worse. Two weeks ago, he lost the ability to eat or stand. Stevenson made the difficult decision to end Sultan’s suffering on Feb. 13.
Police officers and firefighters from around Maine gathered in Yarmouth to pay their respects to Sultan. Patrol cars, with their lights flashing, escorted Stevenson’s van the last mile to the Yarmouth Veterinary Center.
Many of the officers petted Sultan one last time as he lay in the van.
“The loyal police dog raised his black nose to their hands, mustering for each of them a friendly sniff,” the Press Herald reported.
As Stevenson lifted Sultan out of the van and carried him inside the hospital, the officers lined up in two rows and saluted him.
“It goes much deeper than just working with them,” one of the officers, Justin Cooley with the Maine State Police, told the Press Herald. “These are dogs that we take home with us; they get to know our family. They’re with us 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
“You go through a lot of things with them, and you just dread this day.”
Nearly 100 police and K9 officers lined the street near St. Francis Veterinary Center in West Deptford Township, N.J., Friday to salute retired police dog Judge as he made his last visit there with his partner and dog dad, Cpl. Michael Franks.
The officers saluted 9-year-old Judge, a Czech Shepherd, as he carried a protective arm sleeve in his mouth and walked to the hospital’s door with Franks.
During his service as a police dog, Judge apprehended 152 suspects and helped recover three stolen vehicles, three firearms and about $47,000 in drug money, according to the West Deptford Police Facebook page.
After Judge retired from the force last August, he began showing symptoms of Cushing’s disease, a condition caused by a tumor on a dog’s pituitary gland that creates an increase of cortisone.
When Judge was diagnosed with the disease, the local community donated more than $12,000 to help cover the cost of his veterinary bills — all within just 48 hours.
“Judge had undergone surgery and was taking medication for the disease, but it quickly deteriorated, unfortunately,” West Deptford Deputy Chief Sean McKenna told NJ.com. By last week, Judge was having difficulty moving.
Officers and K9s from nearly every police department in Gloucester County arrived in West Deptford Township Friday.
“It’s about showing respect, but also the people who are here wanted to thank Judge for his service to the community,” Glassboro Sgt. Dan Eliasen told NJ.com.
“No one has forgotten what he’s done — and that includes protecting his partner and his community.”