On Jan. 10, the retirement of Booker, the only K-9 unit on the Newton, N.C. police force, was a bittersweet one.
After serving with the department for nearly seven years, the full-blooded German shepherd was thought to be just another member on the team of officers.
In a video of Booker’s final sign-off call, officers commended the brave K-9 for his years of dedication to service with a heartwarming goodbye.
According to the department, the typical work-life for their police dogs is about six to eight years.
And while the department didn’t expect Booker’s retirement to be so early, they were glad to see him off.
Booker had been the only K-9 on the team for over two years, after two other dogs had been retired.
For over two years, Booker and his handler/partner Justin Sizemore worked almost every shift together.
“It’s great having Booker in the Suburban with me,” Sizemore said. “He was my eyes when I couldn’t see, my ears when I couldn’t hear and my nose when I couldn’t smell. That has helped me more times than I can count.”
In recent months, Booker’s final assignments began to show signs that the K-9 was slowing down.
“The other night we had an armed robbery and I used him for tracking,” said Sizemore. “I could tell he was spent afterwards, and the next day he was hurting pretty bad.”
So when it came time for the department to decide where Booker would spend his retirement, Sizemore immediately knew that the dog was meant to be with him.
And although he already had his hands full with other pets and a new baby on the way, he was overjoyed to welcome his partner into his family.
“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.”
Police Chief Don Brown couldn’t agree more. “Booker is still energetic and has life 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 said.
“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,” he continued. “That’s best for everyone involved.”
Welcome to retirement Booker! We hope you enjoy a long and happy life with your new family.
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