The Polk County Sheriff's Office said goodbye to a faithful partner, friend, and companion - canine Ruger, a 7-year veteran of the agency's K-9 Unit - when he was euthanized on February 6, 2004, due to inoperable cancer.
Ruger was the agency's first Belgian Malinois breed of dog, purchased in June 1994 from Holland. Ruger was 3 years old when he began working here with his handler/owner Deputy Sheriff Jim Bryan. Soon after training was complete, Ruger was diagnosed with cataracts, and told he might not be able to work as a canine in the Unit. D/S Bryan got Ruger the best veterinary care he could, and Ruger proved everyone wrong by excelling in the Unit for the next 6 years. In that span of time, Ruger saved his partner's life from a suspect who threatened to shoot him, was run over by a car and fully recovered, and logged more than 700 patrol deployments.
D/S Bryan and Ruger were nationally certified in both narcotics detection and apprehension. They also consistently competed and won statewide and nationally in the U.S. Police Canine Association K-9 Field Trials. In 2001, Ruger and Bryan placed 20th in the state, and with 3 other canines and their handlers, placed 2nd overall as a team. That same year, Ruger and Bryan placed 14th in the nation.
Ruger retired from the agency when D/S
Bryan was promoted to the rank of Sergeant in 2002. The last two years
of his life were spent with Bryan's family until February 6, 2004, when
he was diagnosed with inoperable cancer and was laid to rest.
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