Police dog retires after 6 1⁄2 years of service

After six and a half years of service, Enok, one of three German shepherds in the Thurston County Sheriff Department’s K9 unit has retired. Last month, Enok was surplused to his handler Matt Brennan for the price of one dollar. Brennan said that the transition into retirement has been a little confusing for Enok, who loved his time on the job.

“I haven’t been taking him to work for a couple weeks now,” Brennan said, “I try to go out the front door so he doesn’t see me, I would be putting on my uniform in the morning and he would start whining and whining because he knew ‘hey good, its time to go to work.’”

Enok was bred specifically to be a police dog. He was a little more mellow and quiet than his canine co-workers, Brennan said.

“Some of the police dogs are just constantly barking and he was always really laid back until we’d go to a call, then he would be up and barking and ready to go. It was definitely a treat for me,” Brennan said.

Enok joined the K9 program in 2007, a year after he was born. He spent his entire career handled by Brennan, who has only handled Enok and will not be working with another animal.

The training for both the dogs and handlers is quite extensive, said Thurston County undersheriff Tim Braniff. The training lasts from eight to 10 weeks and is conducted with the Tumwater and Lacey K9 units as well. The three programs share resources and facilities.

“Not only do they go through a program that teaches them all about the dog and its abilities and the dog itself and the behaviors of the dog, but also the requirements, laws and restrictions,” Braniff said.

The K9 program has brought on a Belgium Malinois named Marko to replace Enok. Marko will be able to start training after he is assigned an official handler, according to Capt. Greg Elwin.

But, Enok’s years of service have not gone unnoticed, On Sept. 26 the K9 program will honor retired police dogs and their handlers, thanking them for their service.

Annah Pritchett