FOX 10 News | myfoxphoenix.com
GLENDALE, Ariz. –
A Glendale Police officer and his K-9 were shot last night during a shootout with a suspect. The officer will be ok, but the dog was killed.
Glendale police say the officer is deeply saddened by the loss of his K-9 partner. The bond between a police dog and his police officer handler is so strong, both look to each other for protection.
We spoke with a veteran k-9 handler about the special relationship.
They’re more than canines with badges to their handlers. Even to the police departments they work for, these police service dogs are part of their family.
They work together, live together, train together and in Thursday’s incident, a Glendale police officer and his K-9 were shot together trying to capture a suspect.
“I was absolutely heartbroken,” says Louis Robinson, owner of Robinson Dog Training.
Officer Wes Zygmont is recovering from his injuries, but his K-9 Ronin died.
“It’s always horrible to hear about dogs dying in the line of duty to help save their officers. They’re family.”
Louis Robinson knows all about the close bond handlers and their service dogs develop. Lucy has been a member of his family for 6 years.
Before becoming a dog trainer in Chandler, Robinson was a military police K-9 handler.
“My dog Orrie was in the military. He was really special to me. We deployed overseas, we spent every waking hour, even every sleeping hour. I trusted him, he trusted me.”
He traveled the world, helping train military and civilian police K-9s.
“Those K-9s end up becoming a very valuable member of the team and everyone gets to know them,” says Robinson.
As some have pointed out, police dogs don’t work for money or benefits. They work purely for love.
“A lot of K-9 officers are actually able to take their dogs with them when they retire, when their dogs retire.”
But when Robinson left the military, he was forced to leave Orrie behind.
“It was a great dog, I’ll remember that dog for the rest of my life.”
Statement by Glendale Police: “Officer Zygmont is in good spirits, and we are hopeful for a full recovery from his injuries.
He is deeply saddened by the loss of his K9 partner Ronin. Our Glendale PD family will remain by his side through these first difficult days and throughout his recovery.
We are humbled and appreciative of all the support we have received from the community and our law enforcement family.”