By Jeff Gallatin
Retired North Olmsted K-9 police officer Rex, who left the department in August for health reasons, had to be put down last week.
His partner of more than five years on the department, Patrolman Bill Saringer, said Rex was experiencing seizures for several days. Saringer said after Rex had several episodes Nov. 30, he was taken to the veterinarian’s for treatment. Saringer said Rex was taken back to the vet’s on Dec. 1 after being at home again for a short time.
“It looked like he was recovering, because he responded to some medication,” Saringer said. “But then he would come off the medication and have another episode. We took him back Monday and he didn’t have any problems that day, but shortly afterwards, he began having problems again.”
Saringer said he then had to make the decision that all pet owners dread – about the potential quality of life for the animal if the medical issues persist.
“Any pet owner who has had to deal with something like this knows how it difficult it is,” he said. “He’s a part of the family, and we didn’t want him to have to keep dealing with this type of problem and suffer; it wouldn’t be fair to him.”
Rex was retired by the department in August after two tumors were removed from the area of his spleen. He had a stroke a few months earlier, but had been recovering from that. A 6-year-old Belgian Malinois, he worked with Saringer for about five years.
Saringer said their bond was special.
“I know every K-9 officer thinks their dog was the best, but Rex was an exceptional partner and dog,” Saringer said.
The duo worked on a wide range of criminal cases in North Olmsted and other area communities when called to assist. They also worked security, such as when the president of the United States or other high-ranking officials came to the Northeast Ohio area.
“We did a lot of good things,” Saringer said. “He was good with the public as well and was friendly and good with children.”
Saringer said he considers himself lucky to have been teamed with Rex.
“When I would go to work, he went with me, and when I would go off duty, he would be with me; so we got to spend a lot of time together,” Saringer said. “I thought the last few months were nice for the rest of the family because after he retired, he would stay home. The rest of the family got to spend more time with him and bond with him, and I’m glad for that.”
City officials said after Rex’s retirement, they had no immediate plans to replace him.