Lifestyle & Human Interest

Community Gives Newest Police Dog Special Name in Honor of Fallen Military Hero


In our daily lives, we use people’s names almost without thinking, but the time and effort put into selecting an appropriate name for a living, breathing being can be daunting.

We say some people “look” or “seem” like certain names, and we have strong positive and negative associations with specific names depending on our experience with specimens of their bearers.

When the Novi Police in Novi, Michigan, prepared to add a new K-9 to their ranks, they didn’t want just any old name. Wanting to involve the community, the police asked for suggestions.

According to WXYZ-TV, around 300 names were submitted, providing plenty of options. But one suggestion stood out from the rest, and the City of Novi posted the results on their Facebook page.

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“A huge thank you to the entire community for all of your amazing suggestions to name the new K-9 officer!” the post began. “In fact, there were so many good ones that Officer Simon had to take the entire weekend to choose a name.”

However, there was one submission that had a lot of meaning behind it, and it stood out to Officer Stacey Simon, the dog’s future handler.

“One name that rose to the top of her list came from Novi resident Gary Becker, who suggested the name ‘Major’ to honor his son, Air Force Maj. Andrew Becker who died in 2017 during a training exercise in New Mexico.”

The story behind the name was fitting, but “Major” had been the name of Simon’s dog when she was a girl, and she (understandably) couldn’t give another dog the same name. Gary Becker’s reasoning was so admirable, though, that Simon took creative license to use the family name for the new four-legged officer.

“She did, however, want to honor the family and a military hero who flew 459 combat missions and was awarded 22 Air Force service medals during his 10-year career. Although, it wasn’t the original suggestion, Simon said it felt ‘right’ to name her new partner ‘Becker’ and pay tribute to Andy and the sacrifice he made serving our country.”

The hero’s father agreed that “Becker” was fitting.

“It would be a wonderful and lasting tribute to a Novi hero,” Gary Becker said. “The new K-9 police dog will help protect the citizens of Novi, just as Andy did in being in the military.”

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Simon knew the name not only suited the German shepherd but that it suited the people of the city, too.

“This new dog is going to be a part of the community, another way to connect with people, so I wanted him to have a name that meant something,” she said.

“I really like the name because it is different and unique, but mainly because it is a tribute to Andy and the sacrifice he made serving our country.”

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