van pelt

van pelt

NJ K-9 receives high honors on last day alive

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TINTON FALLS, NJ (NEWS 12/CNN) - They sniff out narcotics, track down lost children and Alzheimer's patients and help police catch bad guys. And when their shifts are over, they go home. The same home as their human partners - where they soon make themselves comfortable - on your couch and in your heart. For Officer Joseph Van Pelt of the Holmdel Police Department - and K-9 7, Diogi - it was love at first sight. "He just walked right to the gate of the crate, licked my face, and I said, 'that, that's gonna be my partner," Van Pelt said. Van Pelt and Diogi have been together for seven years. Diogi has received commendations for lifesaving and criminal apprehension. It's been an amazing run. “It's 100 percent love. It's 100 percent loyalty. It's 100percent dedication to we have to each other,” Van pelt said. “It's just a total, complete bond." They're together virtually 24-7. Ask any of these officers, and they'll tell you the bond between cop and canine is special." Patriot is in training to be Sgt. Edward Martinez's new partner. Prior to Patriot, four other dogs have held the post. "Probably better than anyone else here, you know what Officer Van Pelt is going through,” Martinez said. “Absolutely, I've gone through it twice already with K-9 Angus and K-9 Jerry Lee, and it's really hard. It's like losing a family member." It truly is. The 8-and-a-half-old German shepherd has aggressive and inoperable cancer. A dozen K-9 officers and their partners gathered at Red Bank Veterinary Hospital in Tinton Falls, NJ for Diogi. "All units be advised, this is the final call for K-9 7, canine Diogi," a dispatcher said. One last roll call. One final salute. "He just never left my side," Van Pelt said. Far too soon for Van Pelt, Diogi's shift is over - each of them went home today - without his partner.