A valued member of the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office was granted an early retirement today by the Board of Supervisors. Just not a human member.
“Retiring at 35?” quipped Supervisor Clint Hickman.
K9 Hero, a 5-year-old (35 in dog years) Belgian Malinois, will leave the agency but not his handler. The Board voted unanimously to transfer ownership of Hero to Deputy Brigette McBride. The two have worked together on the K9 Unit since 2016.
“He really taught me to connect to my passion and enjoy my job,” said Deputy McBride.”
Trained as a Patrol and Explosives Detection K9, Hero assisted on numerous calls for service from felony assaults and home invasions to stolen vehicle and missing child calls. He has conducted searches at high-profile sporting events such as the NCAA Final Four and Diamondbacks’ games at Chase Field. During his time with MCSO, he has also earned a reputation as a “teddy bear of a dog” who goes by the nickname of “Hugs and Kisses.”
“This dog is a lover,” explained Deputy McBride. “He loves sleeping on a hammock with myself and my kids.”
K9 Hero has been with MCSO since 2014. His favorite assignment is community outreach, where he frequently assumes “the belly rub position” as soon as he sees children. Hero’s drive to work has declined significantly over the past several months and his desire to catch the bad guys is no longer there. For the safety of everyone, it was time for Hero to retire as a K9 deputy. His plans for retirement include taking long naps with his family in his beloved hammock, playing fetch with his favorite squeaky ball whenever he wants, and volunteering time to people in need of comfort.
“When he wants to play ball,” said Deputy McBride, “he won’t have to find a bomb to do it.”