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Officers react to passing of police K-9
Keen is joined in this 2010 photograph by (from left) Vader and his parents, Froto and Zorro. Vader, who was born in September 2009, went on to work in personal protection.
FLORESVILLE -- “We, as K-9 handlers, have the best job in law enforcement, since we have a partner that will die for us,” said Sgt. Devin Keen of the Floresville Police Department. “But on the other hand, it’s the worst job, since we will only work with our dogs for a few years before they retire or pass on.”
Keen, a 12-year department veteran, made these remarks less than eight hours after he was forced to say goodbye to his partner, Zorro. The two served for six years as the department’s K-9 unit, until Zorro lost his two-year battle with cancer July 23 at 8 a.m. The 9-year-old Belgian Malinois was euthanized in the Deason Animal Hospital in Floresville.
“He had the best care for the past two years from Heather Smith at Deason’s, South Texas Specialty Hospital in San Antonio, and Texas A&M in College Station,” Keen said.
The sergeant is no stranger to cancer, having beaten the disease in 2009 after being diagnosed with Stage 4 lymphoma. Keen and Zorro missed seven months of work while Keen underwent treatment.
“He will be missed, but never forgotten,” Keen said.
Zorro came to the department in 2006 after Keen’s former K-9 partner, Don, died of a sudden illness. Like his predecessor, Zorro was an asset to the department. Because he was a dual-purpose K-9, Zorro not only was used in the detection of illegal narcotics, but also for patrol. Part of that patrol responsibility was helping the department to track fugitives who fled crime scenes.
“Zorro looked forward to work as much as I did,” Keen said. “Down to the day he passed, I would give him a ride in my patrol car around town. I will truly miss the sound of his breath behind my head, or his bark when someone walks up too close to my patrol car.”
Chief Lorenzo Herrera of the Floresville Police Department knows that Zorro was well-loved by his fellow officers and that he will be missed.
“He was a great dog,” Herrera said. “He did a lot for us.”
In addition to being Keen’s partner at work, Zorro also lived with Keen, his wife, their two sons, and a female Belgian Malinois named Froto. The two dogs in September 2009 became the parents of 14 puppies, all of whom went on to perform police and personal protection work.
Keen plans to continue his duties with the department, but will take a few months to grieve his partner’s death before working to find his successor.
“As long there is a drug problem here in Floresville, I’ll be working with a dog,” Keen said.
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