The furry face of the Olympia Police Department, K-9 Melnic announced his retirement Thursday at a “pawress conference.”
Melnic has worked with the department for six years, partnered with Officer Randy Wilson. The 6-year-old German shepherd is retiring healthy, allowing him to live the rest of his life as a normal dog, according to the police department.
Melnic went on leave in late July after Wilson took him to the veterinarian and learned that Melnic had two herniated disks in his back. The damaged disks caused the dog to feel weak and limited his mobility. Surgery was performed on his back, and Melnic made a full recovery and returned to service a few months ago.
However, Lt. Paul Lower said department officials want Melnic to retire while he’s healthy.
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Melnic is well known in the Olympia community because of the “Where’s Melnic?” scavenger hunts that Olympia Police organized in downtown Olympia in the winters of 2014 and 2015. Dozens of children participated in the hunts, searching for photos of Melnic in the windows of downtown businesses. Participants were rewarded with a Melnic meet-and-greet and a “pawtographed” photo. He also has made visits to Olympia schools.
The K-9 program will continue at the Olympia Police Department, with Kaiser and Semper. Kaiser, like Melnic, is paired with a patrol officer. Semper, a therapy dog, joined the department this year.
The community will have a chance to say goodbye to Melnic at a farewell party at 6:30 p.m. Jan 27, at the Hands On Children’s Museum.