This is such a sad thing to see, and sadly we have lost so many K9 officers it seems in recent years. Unfortunately after a battle with cancer, 5 year old K9 Wesson has died. The news was shared in a post from the St. Louis County Rescue Squad on their Facebook page. He was described as an outstanding partner and a loving and lovable pack mentor.

They send a message of thoughts and prayers to the Smith Family. It has to be a difficult loss for his human partner and family as they form close bonds.

I recently met someone who was married to a K9 handler. I'll leave them anonymous for safety reasons, but it was really interesting to see how the home life is with these K9 dogs. I asked the question to her if they are considered a family pet. The short answer is no, they are working police dogs. However, the dog comes home with the officer and works when he does. He's also around their children and is friendly and protective of them. So while he's not a pet, in their specific case it would be hard to tell the difference.

She even says that he has different personalities when he is working versus at home. I found this all so intriguing, I did a deep dive into different sources for information on how K9 police dogs are handled in different situations. It turns out that K9's are owned by the police department but in most cases kennel at home with their human officer handler.

It can also get more complicated. Remember in a lot of cases the reason a dog is used is to not risk a human officers life. That means that the handler has to be willing to send the K9 into a dangerous situation. They could feel tremendous guilt if the dog is hurt or killed, according to Police Psychology. 

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There may be times when the police department promotes or reassigns an officer out of a k9 handler role, and the officer has become so attached that he or she will purchase the dog.

Not all K9s are the same, but I think it's safe to say that they are very much loved and missed by their partners and their families when they pass on.

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