TERRE HAUTE, Ind. (WTHI) - He served the city for nearly seven years. Now, Terre Haute Police K9 Arie is resting on high as his handler, department and community mourns his loss.
The department hosted a special memorial service for Arie Friday afternoon at station headquarters. The ceremony included prayer, the sharing of fond memories, a flag presentation and 21-gun salute.
Handler Sergeant Justin Sears and K9 Arie were partners and other officers agree they made a great team.
While K9s like Arie have many skills, he was best at one.
K9 Patrol Sergeant Todd Haller says, "Arie had a specific talent and Arie was very talented in tracking man. They were a very accomplished team in tracking a lot of suspects. As a matter of fact, they've had upwards of thirty-seven physical apprehensions which doesn't sound like a lot over the years but it is for a patrol dog."
Arie died earlier this year due to medical complications.
Sgt. Haller says, "When you're in a constant state of high drive through your whole career it takes a toll on your body."
Sgt. Sears was not ready to talk about the loss of his partner but others say it is a pain he will carry for a long time.
Sgt. Haller says, "Any K9 that served for our department is considered an officer. They truly are because even though they don't speak, they do communicate and they're a part of the family."
The work is done for Arie but there is more work to do for Sergeant Sears. He'll be back in training later month and will care for the department's nect K9 officer.
Fundraising efforts are underway to get a new K9 and equipment. More information about ways to donate can be found here.