March 13th is a special day for our four-legged heroes, as it marks K9 Veterans Day - a day to celebrate and honor the brave service of American military and retired working dogs, as well as local K9 units. In honor of the holiday, we want to share the heartwarming story of one retired local K9, Boy, and his lifetime partner and best friend, retired Miami Dade Police Officer Chris Hodges.
Boy was part of a special group of K9s that underwent extensive training to detect and alert the presence of explosives and hunt for suicide bombers in large crowds, known as the Special Explosive Odor Pursuit K9. From the age of three, Boy was trained to perceive explosive scents as toys, using positive reinforcement to associate the two. At five years old, he found his purpose when he met Hodges, who joined the department in 1995 with a mission to be a part of the K9 unit.
After seven interviews and years of persistence, Hodges finally landed a spot in the explosive detection K9 unit called EDIC in 2017, where he met Boy. For the next five years, Boy showed dedication and hard work, risking his life to save others. Hodges proudly recalls a specific incident when Boy detected explosives in an unattended bag at a cruise terminal, leading to an evacuation and the involvement of the bomb squad.
Sadly, Boy's health began to decline due to gastrointestinal issues intensified by his work schedule, and he was advised to retire. As his best friend, Hodges knew he had to retire alongside his partner in May of 2022. Now, at 11 years old, Boy only searches for non-explosive toys and enjoys spending the rest of his life beside Hodges. Hodges emphasizes the importance of caring for retired police K9s, as they have provided dedicated service to their handlers and communities.
Woof Gang Bakery & Grooming honored Boy and Hodges with a special pampering day, recognizing the duo's story and the importance of continuing care for retired K9s. Hodges expresses his gratitude for the recognition and care provided by Woof Gang Bakery & Grooming, saying, "It's truly amazing, and the pampering day made our day. I will never be able to thank them enough."
Hodges and Boy's story is a touching reminder of the unwavering dedication and loyalty that police K9s provide to their handlers and communities. Woof Gang Bakery & Grooming is committed to honoring these furry heroes, one treat and one groom at a time. Let's continue to celebrate and appreciate the brave service of K9 veterans like Boy on this K9 Veterans Day and every day.