Officer discusses special bond with K-9 handlers and their dogs

WELLINGTON, Kan. A K-9 handler who knew Rooster and his handler said police dogs and their handlers have a very special bond.

Wellington Police Sergeant Bryan Stewart said his K-9, Reed, is more than just pet. He’s his partner.

“A dog as a partner is so much different than a human being, not that you can’t count on people or something, but regardless of how you feel, regardless of how bad or good of a day you’re having, the dog is always there 100 percent,” said Stewart.

Four-year-old Reed was trained to find narcotics.

“You learn to trust your dog,” said Stewart. “You learn its signs. The dog learns to trust you.”

Stewart said he trusts the dog with his life and that they’re family. Their line of work is dangerous, and Stewart finds himself worrying what happened to Rooster could happen to Reed.

“I feel for the handler, and I’m hoping that’s something I never have to go through,” said Stewart.

Stewart said there’s no way to prepare for losing a K-9 partner.

“It’s always in your mind that these things can happen, same as a human partner,” said Stewart. “We go out, and we know that our intention is to be safe and make it home every night.”

Stewart and Reed trained with Rooster and his handler, so its tough loss for Stewart. He said it’s scary to imagine losing Reed, but he can’t think of anyone better to work by his side.

“It’s one of the most rewarding things I’ve ever done in law enforcement in 16 years of doing this,” said Stewart. “There’s just no other, no better tool to have on the police department than a K-9.”

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