PORT ORCHARD — With a little help from a human, a young German shepherd named Cooper is telling his story on the Kitsap County Sheriff’s Office’s Facebook page as he progresses through basic training toward receiving his police K-9 certification.
The energetic canine has been going through his paces with a human deputy this week following his recent arrival from the Czech Republic. K-9 Cooper is his newly appointed name, a moniker that was chosen to honor a fallen law enforcement officer who worked as a deputy for the Pierce County Sheriff’s Office.
Deputy Cooper Dyson, who was described by friends and family as “a man who lived his life for the service of others above himself,” died in the line of duty on Dec. 21 as he rushed to help his partners during a domestic violence incident.
In K-9 Cooper’s Facebook accounting of his first night of training, he “wrote” that he was honored to be called “Cooper” and “will carry on Deputy Dyson’s legacy of service and commitment to keeping our community safe.”
The deputy-dog-in-training’s arrival in Kitsap was made possible by donations from area residents, AKC Reunite, Peninsula Dog Fanciers’ Club and Sandra Hill Charitable Foundation.
K-9 Cooper, handled by KCSO Deputy A. Baker, is going through a 12-week training schedule as he progresses to eventually replace veteran K-9 Heiko, “who will be wagging his tail into retirement soon … talk about big paws to fill.”
Deputy Baker and K-9 Heiko have been mainstays at the Kitsap County Fair, where the intrepid pair has given K-9 presentations to fairgoers over the years.
According to his Facebook post last week, K-9 Cooper has gotten some training tips and a boost of confidence from a fellow canine officer: “I’m pretty lucky. I’ve got a friend named K-9 Blue and he’s been helping me. K-9 Blue gets to actually look for those who run from the law, but I’ve got a ways to go before my handler will let me do that.”
Prior to the start of K-9 training last week, Cooper and his handler and family took a vacation to the ocean for a bonding experience. “It was so much fun,” the bright-eyed shepherd stated in his blog.