For over 8 years now I have had the distinct honor of spending every day working with heroes. Not “heroes” that play sports but true heroes to mankind. I have worked with the select few that are allowed to handle these heroes. Across the state, across the country and even around the world these heroes work silently in the background. They never ask for credit, awards or time off. They are eager to work no matter the weather or the time. Their ultimate reward is knowing that their handler, their partner, is happy with the job they did. A simple “good boy” is always enough but I’ve never met a handler who felt that was enough. There are toys, treats, pets and hugs for these heroes. However, there are times when these heroes do more than we could ever ask. We ask that these dogs find people, find drugs, find bombs, sit when they are told… As if that wasn’t enough, we also ask them to be first on everything we do. They are the first ones into a building. They pull their handler along during the dark search in the desert. They are first so that they can protect their handlers and all of the officers that are with them. When the most evil of evil are at large, these heroes search high and low and try to bring the evil to justice. Last night K-9 Ivan was sent to apprehend evil. He didn’t hesitate, he didn’t ask why, he went. He went first. He went so that he could protect his partner and the officers that were with them.
Ivan’s heroism did not end at that scene. Ivan fought for his life once he was at the vet hospital. He tried with all his might to stay with his handler but the damage was too great. I watched as this hero lost his battle and entered his final rest. I am proud to say that I worked with K-9 Ivan and Ofc. Chris Fenoglio. I am proud of the heroism that they showed last night.
On behalf of the Tucson Police Officer’s Association I would like to extend a huge thank you to Valley Animal Hospital, and all of the officers and civlian staff that helped in so many different ways last night. To Ofc. Chris Fenoglio, we extend all of our prayers, well wishes and our promise that anything you need, we will be there for you. To K-9 Ivan… Thank you for saving the lives of your handler and the officers that were with him. Rest in peace and “good boy”.
Paul Sheldon – TPOA Secretary and TPD K-9 Handler