Memorials to Fallen K-9s 
The F.A.S.T. Co. donates sets of memorial cards to all partners 
 I need your help to inform me of such losses.

Dept. addresses available for those who want to send condolences to officers. See below
In Loving Memory of
August 12, 2005

Handler: Cpl. Joseph Gonzales
Merrillville Police Department
7820 Broadway
 Merrillville, IN 46410
(219) 769-3722

It took a couple days before Merrillville police Cpl. Joseph Gonzales could even talk about it without welling up with tears or simply breaking down and crying.  To Gonzales, the death of Volker has hit hard. On Friday morning, Volker, a Merrillville police canine officer, succumbed to cancer after nine years on the force. “He was a friend and part of my family,” Gonzales said.
The German shepherd, who was bred and born in Germany before being brought to the United States in 1996, worked and lived with Gonzales, who is the director of the Merrillville canine division. “He was always really good with my wife and my kids,” said Gonzales, a 1012-year veteran of the force who has three
children. “It was very strange today. I can still feel him pushing me or pulling on me at certain times.”Volker initially was a full-service patrol dog, working narcotics, tracking suspects and apprehending suspects, Gonzales said. In 2000, Volker’s duties were scaled back, and he became a narcotics dog. In 2003, Volker was retired as he approached age 10. But a year later, he returned.“We were worried about him getting older,” Gonzales said. “But he went stir crazy at home and forced me to bring him out of retirement.”Volker was diagnosed with testicular cancer in November. Veterinarians at the Merrillville Animal Hospital removed the cancer but told Gonzales there was a slight chance the cancer had spread. Volker continued to work up until June, and last week veterinarians discovered the cancer had spread to his shoulder. “He got really, really ill,” Gonzales said. “And on Friday, the vet called and said there was no chance of him improving.” Gonzales said a burial ceremony has not yet been planned. Gonzales said the hope was to bury Volker in his yard at home, but Gonzales is in the process of moving to a new home.   Volker was one of three police dogs splitting three shifts within the Merrillville department. Sirius, also a German shepherd, currently is going through training with Patrolman Nathan Schrock to become a full-service dog. Rocco, a black Labrador retriever, works with Patrolman David Desalle and is a narcotics and tracking dog. Gonzales said the goal of the department is to obtain another canine in the wake of Volker’s death. He said he doubts he will be that dog’s handler. 
submitted by Jim Cortinia, Dir. CPWDA