Custom’s K-9 Katie was put to rest Sunday after a long and distinguished career in crime fighting.
The 15-year veteran Labrador retriever was buried with honour and commendation in the yard of West Bay handler Malachi Powery.
Katie – responsible for three generations of dogs, some of which now work for the K-9 unit – served the Customs Department from July 1993 until she was retired in November 2002.
During her tenure with the department she was instrumental in detecting several drug finds. One seizure from a boat yielded over 3,000 pounds of ganja. She was also responsible for bringing in revenue of over $30,000 from fines.
She was also one of the first dogs brought to Cayman to work with the department and used by the Custom’s Department in many drug sniffing narcotics raids and firearms detection cases with the Royal Cayman Islands Police Service.
Katie was also involved in schools and civic organisations anti-drug demonstrations.
‘Because she was such a playful dog she interacted very well with the children,’ said Mr. Powery.
Mr. Powery a trainer, partner, friend and family to Katie, said his dog was fearless and courageous in the line of duty.
He loved Katie so much that when she became ill, he took her home to care– for her during her final days.
”Everyone gets attached to their dogs. They become one of the officers and one of the guys.
‘Katie was the best dog a partner could have. She was a faithful partner and will be hard to replace. She was special and deserved the best of care during her illness. Although I have another dog called Scooby, Katie will always have a special place in my heart,’ he said.
Katie was buried alongside her offspring Tracker, which died in the line of duty.
K-9 handlers and friends gathered Sunday in a tribute to Katie, which died of complications due to old age; she was 108 in human years.
‘Some people might not understand why we saw it fitting to give Katie a burial of acknowledgement but to officers that work with these dogs they are faithful partners,’ said Mr. Powery. ‘We depend on them as much as they depend on us. I hope by taking this step, K-9 dog burials will be taken to another level. Also I am hoping that some sort of emotional counselling or compassionate leave and time to relax be put in place. After all, sometimes we have to put our lives in the hands of these dogs who sometimes take a bullet for us.’