ORO VALLEY, AZ (3TV/CBS5) -- An ice cream sandwich! It's a fitting, sweet send-off for an officer who has been a loyal and faithful four-legged servant for the past seven years. Bruno, a police K-9 with the Oro Valley Police Department in southern Arizona, is ready for retirement.
The Oro Valley Police Department (OVPD) posted video of Bruno's "last call" on its Facebook page, stating: "K-9 Bruno, on behalf of the Oro Valley Police Department, thank you for your dedication and service to your fellow officers and the community. Enjoy retirement!"
The post also warned: "Good luck not tearing up on this one, folks." (We agree; grab some tissues before you watch.)
Bruno joined the OVPD in September 2013. He's a Belgian Malinois brought in from the Czech Republic. Bruno is trained and nationally certified in patrol tactics and narcotics detection. He helped seize nearly $1 million of narcotics.
"You can now chase rabbits instead of bad guys," the dispatcher said. Bruno went home with his handler, where he will live out his days surrounded by familiar love and comfort.
For now, he leaves the department in good hands (paws). Bruno passes the torch to the OVPD's other two K-9s: Justin, a 7-year-old male Belgian Malinois, who is trained in explosives detection, and Diesel, another male Belgian Malinois from the Czech Republic, who is trained in patrol tactics and narcotics detection. According to the OVPD's website, the K-9 Unit is responsible for handling searches for narcotics, people and bombs. The K-9 teams participate in regular training exercises to maintain their high level of expertise in their specialized field.
Meantime, the Oro Valley Optimist Club (OVOC) is on a mission to support the police department by establishing the OVPD Retired Police Canine (K-9) Fund. The fund will be used to reimburse a K-9’s handler for out-of-pocket expenses incurred for non-routine medical care for retired police dogs.
The K-9s are often adopted by their handlers when they retire, and most go on to become beloved members of their families. However, retired K-9s can experience costly medical challenges. Most agencies, cities, or counties provide the K-9s with veterinary care during their working career, but it’s not uncommon for the agency to discontinue paying for medical costs after retirement. So, the responsibilities then fall to the handler.
That’s where the OVPD Retired Police Canine Fund comes in. It's set up to ensure that the retired K-9s have proper medical care during retirement for expensive procedures due to work-related injuries. The fund will truly benefit the dogs after their working careers are complete. If you'd like to help out, you can donate HERE.
Oro Valley is located just north of Tucson.
Thanks for your service, Bruno! Enjoy a well-deserved rest.