100 people, six K-9s mourn Trixie

Published 3:44 pm Thursday, March 28, 2013

PCSO holds first K-9 memorial

Approximately 100 people and six area K-9s attended a memorial service Wednesday, March 27 in honor of Trixie, Polk County Sheriff’s Office K-9 who passed away suddenly on March 15.

The memorial service was the first for the Polk sheriff’s office for a K-9.

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“To many she may have just been a dog,” said Polk County Sheriff’s Office Chaplain Chris Osborn, “but to the Polk County Sheriff’s Office she was a deputy.”

Osborn said officers are very appreciative of Trixie’s service as K-9s are amazing animals in what they are able to do. He said the dogs are particularly close to the handlers as they are their protectors.

Trixie, a 10-year-old German Shepherd began her K-9 career with the Henderson County Sheriff’s Office where she served for three years before serving with the Buncombe County Sheriff’s Office for the next five years. Trixie joined Polk County handler Ronnie Russell last year. She passed away suddenly on March 15 after working the night before and helping in three drug arrests. Officers said she died from cancer.

Russell said the turnout at the memorial service meant a lot to him but his emotions overtook him and he couldn’t continue his speech.

Osborn said the bond between a handler and his dog is special as the crowd could see.

Polk County Sheriff Donald Hill, who also became emotional at times, said he lost his first police dog to cancer several years ago.

“I pulled off on the Saluda exit (of I-26) and cried my eyes out the same way (Russell) did,” Hill said. “I know what he’s going through.”

Hill mentioned Trixie’s work the night before she died and said dogs are so dedicated to their jobs and they love their work so much they work when they are sick. He said people wonder why there’s such a bond between a handler and a K-9, but when you bathe the dog, feed the dog and give it medicine, it becomes your child, Hill said.

Hill also read a poem called “Rainbow Bridge,” about losing a pet.

The sheriff’s office is seeking donations for Russell to have another K-9. Call the sheriff’s office at 828-894-3001 for more information.