Many Police Departments, Fire Stations, and Sheriff’s Departments have a K9 Unit in which officers work alongside trained dogs for search and rescue purposes, detecting bombs, and even sniffing out narcotics. These dog and human working relationships quickly become affectionate personal relationships as well due to the amount of trust both parties need to have in each other. The Sheriff’s Department in Floyd County, Georgia is one of the many with a K9 Unit. Unfortunately, they are suffering a canine loss this week.
The Floyd County Sheriff’s Department in Georgia works alongside various pups that are trained in bomb detection, drug location and search and rescue. One of their canine officers, Duke, was part of the narcotics detection team. His job was to sniff out any drugs or drug paraphernalia in a requested location. Duke served with the Floyd County Sheriff’s Department for many years. Unfortunately for Duke, his entire life (and the lives of his fellow K9 Unit) would change forever.
Duke was diagnosed with an abdominal bleed at the West Rome Animal Clinic on March 24, 2017. The veterinary staff found that the bleed was coming from a ruptured tumor on Duke’s spleen. The staff performed surgery to remove the ruptured tumor from his spleen. This surgery had been a success and Duke recovered rather well. The tumor, now removed, was then sent to a lab to be biopsied and tested. The results concluded that the tumor was in fact Hemangiosarcoma. Hemangiosarcoma is a form of canine cancer that is becoming all too common. Duke was then sent to the University Of Georgia School Of Veterinary Medicine Oncology Division where the cancer diagnosis was confirmed. At this stage, chemotherapy was no longer a viable treatment option.
Duke continued to work alongside the K9 Unit of Floyd County Sheriff’s Department. However, April 28, 2017, would be his last day of duty. Luckily, Duke was assigned to perform his favorite duty of all, school demonstrations! His last day on the job was spent surrounded by the children and staff of Alto Park Elementary School in Georgia. The following day, Duke’s health took a quick turn for the worse. He spent his final moments with his partner Deputy Allred and family members. Deputy Allred held Duke and comforted him until 1:50 pm on April 30th when duke sadly passed away.
Deputy Allred, his family, and the Floyd County Sheriff’s Department mourn the loss of their fellow officer, their canine companion, and their friend.