Tears for a fallen hero: Police officers gather for an emotional final farewell to courageous K9 suffering terminal bone cancer
A terminally ill police dog received a hero’s salute when law enforcement officers gathered in central Arkansas to say their final farewells.
Pajti had served as a K-9 officer since 2013 in Lonoke County, about 20 miles east of Little Rock.
However, a few months ago the dog was diagnosed with Osteosarcoma, a form of bone cancer.
When the cancer started spreading Sheriff John Staley made the tough decision to have the K9 put down. ‘I mean it’s just his energy level you can tell has gone down,’ he said.
His handler, Deputy Brooks Grabill, told Little Rock television station KTHV that Pajti’s illness advanced rapidly and a veterinarian recommended the dog be euthanized.
On Wednesday, officers from Lonoke County and surrounding agencies drove in a procession with lights and sirens on to accompany Pajti to the shelter where he would be euthanized.
‘Being a canine handler, you’re with these dogs 24/7,’ Canine Deputy Rob Ruble said. Speaking about Pajti’s current and former handlers, Brooks Grable and Tyler Barber, he said ‘The bond with them is just outrageous,’ Ruble said, as teary-eyed deputies ruffled Pajti’s ears and cupped his face in their hands.
‘It’s like losing a partner. That’s what it is. These guys have lost their partner,’ Ruble added.
‘We have to show respect to the dogs just like we would any other deputy. They have a badge and an ID just like every other deputy out there. They’re part of the department, they’re part of our family.’
The entire team of the Lonoke County Sheriff’s Office stood in a line and saluted Pajti and his handler, who was in tears, while the two walked together into the building.
A final radio call for Pajti said: ‘K9 Pajti’s 10-7. Attention all units: This is Deputy K9 Pajti’s final ride. Deputy K9 Pajti: Thank you for your service to the citizens of Lonoke County and surrounding areas.’
‘Deputy Pajti, you have served in a special manner, and it has been an honor to serve with you. Rest in peace, we will take it from here.’
‘He’s one of the deputies. It’s important because he’s one of us,’ Grable said. ‘Even now when I have to leave him at home over the last couple months, he whines when I walk out the door. It’s because he sees me in uniform and he wants to go to work,’ he continued.
Pajti had been with the Sheriff’s Office since 2013 and touched many lives over his years of service.
‘His personality is something that’s unbelievable. He could chase after a bad guy and apprehend him, and in the next five minutes that guy could be petting him,’ Grabill said.
Speaking about the service in honor of Pajti Sheriff Staley said ‘He would be the first one to put his life on the line for us. What I would do for a deputy I’m going to do for him.’