VANCOUVER -- The killing of the Portland police K-9 dog named Mick Wednesday brought an outpouring of sympathy from across the country.
But no one understands the impact of the loss like someone who has already lived through it.
Vancouver Police Officer Roger Evans said he is still not over the killing of his dog, Dakota.
“It was like we were made for each other,” he said.
Dakota was a German Sheppard who caught on to police work quickly. Evans and Dakota were partners for two years. Then, on a terrible night in 2007 they went after a suspect with a gun, hiding in thick woods.
“He was a genuine bad guy and he was threatening, had made many threats over the past week to kill law enforcement,” said Officer Evans.
As Dakota closed in, the man shot and killed the K-9.
Hundreds later gathered for a memorial service and tribute to the dog.
“I’m still not over it. I don’t think you’ll ever get over it,” Evans said.
Officer Evans wants the public to know the shared danger and challenge of the job creates a deep bond between the handler and dog. He feels it now with his current K-9, Eron.
“I know that dog better than I know my wife. And he knows me better than he knows anyone in the world. It’s just a very complimentary relationship. And it’s huge. It’s just difficult to describe,” he said.
And perhaps impossible to get over. Thinking about Dakota can still move the tough officer to the edge of tears.
“As far as getting over it, i guess my answer to that, I don’t want to be over it. The sacrifice he made for me was huge and if I can keep a little bit of that hurt going, I owe that to him,” he said with a quivering voice.
In a curious twist, Officer Evans points out that Dakota was the K-9 name given by the public when the dog went to work in Vancouver, but his original name was Eron.
You can imagine Officer Evan’s astonishment when he learned his current k-9, picked without his knowledge and three years after Dakota’s death, was also named Eron.