It was a police dog handler's worst nightmare.
Garden City Police Officer Bruce Shippe's faithful, loyal, dependable — and best friend — Deuce suddenly
couldn't breathe at home Saturday, Nov. 17.Deuce was rushed to Veterinary Emergency Service, a 24-hour
emergency care facility at Ann Arbor Road and Haggerty, which intubated him and advised Shippe to transport
the dog to Michigan Veterinary Specialists in Southfield, a special 24-hour center which handles
unexpected trauma, illness and injury.
One problem was that the first hospital didn't have the necessary equipment to transport the intubated
dog, who was on a ventilator. “The Plymouth Township Fire Department gave us the equipment needed,” Shippe said.
So Shippe, assisted by his wife Lisa, who is a
rushed the dog to Michigan Veterinary Specialists, with Lisa operating the vital equipment which kept Deuce alive.
Shippe spent long hours with the sick dog at the hospital and, in fact, slept with him when he wasn't working.
He soon heard the bad news through a biopsy that Deuce had a cancerous mass which was growing quickly
and hampering his breathing. Shippe learned that the fast-growing tumor is somewhat common in German shepherds.
By last weekend, Shippe and Garden City Police Chief Robert Muery were given three options: surgery,
radiation or chemotherapy. None seemed the best choice and Deuce was euthanized.
“Surgery would have resulted in removal of part of his tongue,” Muery said.
The 7-year-old Deuce, who was acquired by the department more than six years ago, was a valuable member.
In a demonstration to the Garden City Observer last spring, Deuce was riveted on every move Shippe made.
It was almost as if he understood how crucial his handler's work was and how they must rely on each other and
work together. Shippe, a 13-year police veteran, depended on Deuce's “work ethic” and called Deuce a “successful dog.”
“He loves to work,” Shippe said. “That's all he wants to do ... work, work, work. He has a hard time relaxing.”
Deuce's reward after finding some marijuana planted in a car was a small, red rubber ball.
submitted by Jim Cortina, Dir. CPWDA
Police handler pays tribute to K-9 partner, Dusty
members of the community and law enforcement officials gathered to pay respect to Dusty, his fallen canine partner.
Police held a memorial Friday morning in a conference room at Brownsville Police Department headquarters.
Law enforcement officials from throughout the Rio Grande Valley attended.
Dusty joined the force in 2005 after Marco Huerta, K-9 coordinator for the BPD,
discovered him in a small town in Slovakia.
The German shepherd, known for its keen sense of smell and ability to assist police in uncovering
hidden narcotics and cash, died from unknown causes the night of Aug. 12, Huerta said.
Dusty had been on patrol the night before.
In the last year alone, Huerta said Dusty was responsible for assisting the Cameron County Sheriff’s
Department in finding 1,000 pounds of marijuana. Not too long ago, Dusty helped the BPD
uncover $370,000 hidden in the gas tank of a van.
Huerta said Dusty was solely responsible for assisting officers seize more than
10 pounds of cocaine since last year. “On May 12 of this year, he had a seizure
of 250 pounds of marijuana. He was able to sneak around a residence and hit on a smell at a residence,”
Huerta said. “We were able to get a warrant and make that seizure.”
Most recently, police were investigating an illegal transaction in the downtown area when
the suspect bailed out of his car and fled. Garza and Dusty deployed.
“Dusty gave chase and the suspect realized he was being chased by a police dog and he gave up
and threw his hands in the air,” Huerta said. “As you can see, these dogs are special tools.”
But Dusty also had a soft side, according to Garza. He said one of his favorite memories of
Dusty was just being out in Brownsville and children coming up to him to tell him they remember
the pair from when they visited schools.
“I believe Dusty touched many lives in many ways. We spoke to thousands of children of
all ages,” Garza said in a prepared statement that Huerta read as Garza looked on,
too choked up to read it himself. Dusty won numerous awards in competitions he participated in with Garza.
But for Garza, Dusty was more than a partner; he was part of his family.
“I want to say thank you to K-9 Dusty for always working because he didn’t just protect me at work,
he protected my family at home,” Garza said in the statement that Huerta read.
Police Chief Orlando C. Rodriguez said the loss affects the entire law enforcement community.
“Any of you who are dog lovers can just imagine what it’s like to lose a companion.
That’s something nobody likes to deal with, but then you can imagine that canine in
your partner, in life. While he’s at your home, he has a higher duty and performs
that for his community day in and day out,” Rodriguez said." We will celebrate and remember
Dusty for everything he has done and everything he did,” the chief said.
BPD plans will erect a memorial for Dusty at its headquarters, and Dusty will be laid to rest at Garza’s home.
- submitted by Jim Cortina, Dir. CPWDA