Bittersweet Moment: Watch Cop's First Act After His K9 Partner Retires


In a heartwarming Facebook post, a police officer announced that he was adopting his retired K-9 partner.

“Bittersweet moment. My best friend and now former partner, is turning in his badge and will now become my pet,” Justin Sizemore wrote. “I couldn’t ask for a better loving companion to be by my side.”

His German shepherd partner, K-9 officer Booker, retired from the police force on Jan. 10 after seven years of service, according to The Hickory Daily Record.

“He’s part of our family now,” Sizemore said. “I want him to live out the rest of his life happily, and I plan on taking him to more places now like the lake.”

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It is clear that Sizemore appreciated Booker’s companionship and work during their time as partners.

“You were my eyes when I couldn’t see, my ears when I couldn’t hear and my nose when I couldn’t smell,” he wrote in his post. “You made long nights better and I always had you to talk to and count on no matter what.”

Both Sizemore and K-9 Booker will have to adjust to their new roles in each other’s lives.

“It’s going to be different and hard the next time I go to work and don’t hear your tail wagging, beating the kennel or I turn around and your not there, but i know you will be enjoying retired life.”

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In his post, Sizemore included K-9 Booker’s final sign-off.

“Attention all units, it is our privilege to mark K9 Booker out of service end of tour on Wednesday, January 10, 2018 at 0645 hours,” the dispatcher said.

“213, on behalf of the Newton Police Department we want to thank your partner K-9 Booker for his years of dedication and faithful service to the Newton Police Department and most importantly serving and protecting his handler. We want to wish him well in his retirement. Booker will always be part of our law enforcement family. Thank you for having our backs.”

Newton Police Chief Don Brown said the department hadn’t anticipated Booker’s retirement to be so soon, even though most K-9 officers serve six to eight years, but they will get more K-9s by 2020.

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“Booker is still energetic and has time left in him, but it’s time for him to retire. We want him to be able to enjoy the rest of his life,” Brown told The Hickory Daily Record. “Booker has worked hard for us and done a lot of good for the department, and we are happy to see him go with officer Sizemore. That’s best for everyone involved.”

Most K-9 handlers adopt their partners once they’re retired, but the city finds homes for any retired animal not adopted.

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Erin Coates was an editor for The Western Journal for over two years before becoming a news writer. A University of Oregon graduate, Erin has conducted research in data journalism and contributed to various publications as a writer and editor.
Erin Coates was an editor for The Western Journal for over two years before becoming a news writer. She grew up in San Diego, California, proceeding to attend the University of Oregon and graduate with honors holding a degree in journalism. During her time in Oregon, Erin was an associate editor for Ethos Magazine and a freelance writer for Eugene Magazine. She has conducted research in data journalism, which has been published in the book “Data Journalism: Past, Present and Future.” Erin is an avid runner with a heart for encouraging young girls and has served as a coach for the organization Girls on the Run. As a writer and editor, Erin strives to promote social dialogue and tell the story of those around her.
Tucson, Arizona
Graduated with Honors
Bachelor of Arts in Journalism, University of Oregon
Books Written
Contributor for Data Journalism: Past, Present and Future
Prescott, Arizona
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English, French
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Politics, Health, Entertainment, Faith