While serving on the Seymour Police Department, K9 Koa could be a criminal’s worst nightmare.
But for his handler, former officer Ian McPherson, the German shepherd was his work partner and best friend. After Koa’s retirement in 2010, the dog remained a part of the McPherson family.
That’s why having to put Koa to sleep Monday was one of the hardest things McPherson said he has ever had to do.
“It was a tough night in our household without him,” McPherson said. “He truly was great. My wife and kids are crushed, especially my youngest.”
Koa worked for the Seymour Police Department for six years from 2004 until 2010. He was 14 years old. McPherson said he noticed Koa’s weight was dropping, and he was losing muscle mass but was eating more than usual.
“One day, he was dragging his back feet when he was walking,” McPherson said. “Then, this past weekend, he couldn’t stand up at all. It just wasn’t a good quality of life for him anymore.”
McPherson said Koa was able to tell him it was time.
“They give you a look, and you just know that they are done,” he said. “He gave me that look on Sunday.”
Koa received a police escort, fittingly, as his last ride to Seymour Animal Hospital before he was euthanized.
“He perked up when he saw the lights go on and heard the sirens, then sighed and put his head back down in my lap,” McPherson said of the drive. “I was just destroyed. For six years, I spent more time with him than I did anybody.”
Read the full story in Wednesday’s Tribune and online at tribtown.com.