DUNNING — More than 20 Chicago Police officers and leaders joined together Wednesday to salute a terminally ill canine on her last trip to the vet's office where she was euthanized.
The 7-year-old chocolate Labrador, named Bob, had spent four years sniffing for explosives on the CTA at the side of her handler, Officer Michael Walter. She was diagnosed with brain cancer last October, Walter said.
"They didn't give her very long to live at all, but she actually lasted over a year," the officer told reporters outside Niles Animal Hospital, choking back tears. "But it's time. It's taken it's toll, and it's time for her to pass over that rainbow bridge and move on."
Canine handlers serving all over the city stood at attention outside Walter's house in Dunning early Wednesday afternoon, saluting Bob as Walter led her to his squad car. From there, the officers drove about two miles in an eight-car procession to the suburban vet's office.
It was a wrenching goodbye for Walter, who had grown a deep attachment to his canine partner.
"It's a special bond — the dog is with you almost more than your family is," he said. "You love each other, and you depend each other to do the right thing."
When Bob started having trouble tracking her toys late last year, Walter found out that a tumor was pressing on her pituitary gland, clouding her vision, he said.
"It's very tough to say goodbye to this wonderful dog, but I know in my heart that it's time," Walter said. "And I think she does too."
The Chicago Police canine unit puts 15 dogs to work on transit lines around the city, officials said. The dogs live at home with their handlers.
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