COLLIER COUNTY, Fla. -- A retired Collier County Sheriff’s Office K-9 passed away Monday, following eight years of duty on the force. In his final hours, deputies in the K-9 unit gathered for a final send-off as a thank you for his service.
“That’s what we do in K-9 is support each other because it’s so tough,” said K-9 Dewey’s handler Cpl. Daniel Muhlhahn. “You spend more time with your dog than you do with your family.”
K-9 Dewey died at age 12 after a career in the Vice Narcotics Drug Interdiction Unit. He spent the last three years of life basking in retirement at home with his handler and his “step brother” K-9 George, who is an active member of the CCSO K-9 Unit.
K-9 Dewey, a chocolate lab, replaced his father, K-9 Woody, who was also a member of the narcotics unit until his retirement. Cpl. Muhlhahn trained all three of the dogs and said chocolate labs make for terrific partners.
“They’re so gentle,” he said. “You can use them in demos in schools and everything like that, and we did a lot of those.”
K-9 Dewey began working at age 2, assisting in federal, state and local cases. He also regularly assisted the U.S. Postal Inspection Service and examined parcels from two major carriers.
During one of their most memorable cases together, Cpl. Muhlhahn said K-9 Dewey helped recover about $100,000 worth of marijuana that a criminal had been mailing via a postal carrier over a period of three to four months.
K-9 Dewey retired about three years ago and was replaced on the force by his brother, K-9 George. Cpl. Muhlhahn said retirement suited K-9 Dewey.
“Most dogs either go crazy or they don’t like having another dog in the house because they’re alpha dogs,” he said. “But labs are so mellow. He took retirement very well.”
In his final years, K-9 Dewey suffered from breathing problems that became progressively worse until Cpl. Muhlhahn made the difficult decision to have him put down. He gathered fellow members of the K-9 Unit as K-9 Dewey walked into the vet’s office Monday.
“The big thing I miss so much is that when I come home, he won’t have a slipper in his mouth, waiting for me,” Cpl. Muhlhahn said.
The Collier County Sheriff’s Office thanks K-9 Dewey for his years of service to the community.
“It was a great pleasure to work with my best friend,” Cpl. Muhlhahn said. “God speed, Dewey.”