Sheriff's office loses beloved search dog
By JOHN A. WINTERS
The Coweta County Sheriff’s Office has lost one of its own.
Search dog Remko, considered an officer with the department, was found to have a rapidly growing form of bone cancer and was put down Monday. The Belgian Malinois, who started with the sheriff’s office in January of 2009, was five-and-a-half years old.
Remko, along with his handler, Deputy First Class Troy Foles, specialized in narcotics detection and tracking both missing persons and criminal suspects.
“During his career Remko made a huge impact and valuable contribution to his handler and his department by being the primary factor in a multiple number of felony and misdemeanor drug arrests by searching and locating illegal narcotics simply with his nose,” sheriff’s office officials said. “He also aided and assisted in many more arrests and convictions of criminal suspects who had fled from various crime scenes including burglaries, car chases, thefts, and crimes against a person.”
About a week ago, Foles noticed an abnormal growth on Remko’s right chest and rib cage.
Remko was taken to the Dogwood Veterinary Office off Hospital Drive where veterinarian Dr. Wayne Morris thought Remko was suffering from some type of common skin tumor.
A routine surgery was planned to remove the tumor and Remko was expected to be back to work after a short recovery time.
“During the surgery for this tumor’s removal it was discovered ... that it was way worse than suspected and Remko had actually been battling a rapidly growing form of bone cancer,” the sheriff’s office said. The only choice was to start a “rigorous and painful treatment process” but the prognosis was not good.
Foles and Morris then had to make a heart-wrenching decision.
“And that was to put Remko’s best interest at heart knowing that he is a ‘Working Dog’ and completely different from anything you would normally see on the street and allow him to go and be with his fellow canines along the streets of heaven,” the sheriff’s officials related in the prepared statement.
Foles said it was one the hardest decisions he has ever made, and yet his time with Remko was one of the most rewarding of his career.
“I will truly miss my partner and forever have a love in my heart for him that I think could only be shared with other LEO (law enforcement officer) handlers,” Foles said.
“A law enforcement canine is one of the most devoted officers an agency could have from any of its valued employees for the fact it never requires any paycheck, annual or sick leave days to take away from its primary goals and objections,” sheriff’s officials said.
“It truly loves every single moment it’s at work doing what they love and pleasing their handlers, despite what kind of a day or call comes across the dispatch radio.”