FOX 32 NEWS - Chicago Police said goodbye Wednesday to a beloved member of their canine patrol, a 7-year-old black lab with brain cancer.
With police canine handlers standing at attention, canine "Bob" went for her last walk Wednesday afternoon into the Niles Animal Hospital where she'd been treated in recent months. Just over a year ago, the Labrador retriever had suddenly gone blind. The cause was a brain tumor. She retired from the force, as her health went downhill. Officer Michael Walter was her handler.
"She's a great girl, a great dog, and she's been my best friend for a long time," said Walter.
Canine Bob received a police escort on her final trip to the clinic. Officer Walter says the explosives detection dog was named "Bob" by her original trainers at an Air force base in Texas, and she kept it while serving in Chicago.
"Over her four years of work, she was basically searching the airport, searching mass transit, and protecting the city of Chicago," Walter said.
Officer Walter says Bob was the first canine companion he had worked with, and he spent his last hours with her, offering lots of treats and lots of love.
"But it's time, she's just not there anymore, everything has taken its toll to her, so, uh, it's time for her to pass over that rainbow bridge and move on," Walter said.
Veterinarian Don Staunton says dogs with similar tumors typically survive for three to six months, so Bob showed some real courage, living for more than a year. Euthanization was not easy.
"Bob was only seven. And so that makes it a lot harder. Older dogs we kind of understand and they've had a nice long life, but young dog, it's tough," said Staunton.
Officer Walter appreciated the support from his colleagues.
"It's very nice, it's great, it makes me proud to be a Chicago police officer. And proud to be a canine handler," Walter said.
Officer Walter is still working on the canine unit, and his new companion is named "Rampage."