Four-year-old Gage Ryan can rest easy.
Though Gregor, his dad’s Belgian Malinois, is one of two dogs retiring from the Horn Lake Police Department K-9 unit, the dog isn’t going to be living under any other roof.
Brenda and George Carlisle (center left and right) visit Horn Lake K-9 officer Josh Bryant (left), with his dog Nick and Lt. Scott Worsham.
“(Gage) thought I was getting rid of him — and tears went flowing,” K-9 officer Nathan Ryan said. “He’s very attached to him too.”
Gregor and Nick, another Belgian Malinois, have stepped down after combining for 15 years of service in Horn Lake. Nick will live with his last handler, Josh Bryant.
“They’re the ones that are going to spend the next few years, hopefully, in the life of luxury,” said Lt. Scott
Worsham, “probably eating biscuits or whatever they want to.”
Gregor and Nick have been replaced on the force by Brun and Sonny, respectively. Brun, according to Worsham, is an adopted service dog through the U.S. military.
Sonny, a German Shepherd, was obtained through the generosity of Horn Lake’s George and Brenda Carlisle.
“It’s something I wanted to do for our city to make it safer,” said George, 73. “I’ve had personal problems in the past and this has changed my way of thinking. … It’s who do you help and how do you help?”
The transaction had three simple stipulations.
“I wanted to meet him when he got here; I wanted them to name him Sonny, that’s my nickname; and I wanted to meet him after his training,” George said. “They told me they were going to make him a narcotics dog. I understand they don’t have one around here.”
Brun and Sonny are joining veterans Dex and Roozna to round out Horn Lake’s K-9 arsenal. Gregor’s run might have been a little bit longer had it not been for health issues.
“He’s starting to have joint problems and stuff like that,” Ryan said. “He’s been a great dog. (At work), he was on key and ready to go. At home, he’s very relaxed. They know when it’s time to play and when it’s time to work.”
Ryan says Gregor can now split his day between playing with Gage and with the family’s boxer.
“She and Gregor are like best friends,” Ryan said. “They wrestle around in the backyard, sleep together, play together.”
Nick, on the other hand, gets a different reception from Bryant’s other dog — a Jack Russell Terrier named Bella.
“Nick’s scared of her,” Bryant says with a laugh. “She’s mean.”
Bryant, who like Ryan was hired by Horn Lake in 2006, calls life with a K-9 “a phenomenal adventure.”
“The things that they do for the department — you wouldn’t believe it,” he said. “You can tell in their change of behavior when they’re getting close to the suspect; they’ve saved a lot of officers. I guess they deserve their time to retire and just hang out.”
Written by — Chris Van Tuyl: (901) 333-2018
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