K9 police dogs play an essential role in every police force. They are extremely significant to their police handlers, who see them as more than simply an animal companion, but as a genuine colleague on the job.
According to en.newsner, this was especially true for an Ohio cop and his one-of-a-kind K9 dog, whose lives and jobs were tied together in a way that couldn’t be broken.
And, in a tragic but sweet ending to their narrative, the two cops passed away on the same day, barely hours apart, this week.
Sheriff Dan McClelland, who served the county for 44 years until retiring in 2016, passed away on Wednesday at the age of 67, according to the Geauga County Sheriff’s Office.
And his previous companion, Midge, a Chihuahua-rat terrier mix, per.i.shed just hours afterwards, as though of a shattered heart.
During his years in the police force, including 13 years as sheriff, Sheriff McClelland was regarded as a “pillar” of his town.
He won Geauga County’s Emerald Leader Award in 2014, and some of his best jobs were breaking up a huge burglary ring and disarming an armed suspect to save the life of another deputy.
“My job has always been about family and bringing people together,” McClelland said of his work.
But, as brilliant as his resume was, he spent much of his time taking care of his famous companion, Midge.
Midge set the Guinness World Record for the smallest police dog in 2006, being 11 inches tall and 23 inches long. Midge, despite her small stature, was a skilled drug-sniffing K9.
Midge’s sudden notoriety eclipsed her human lover, but McClelland was content to let his favorite canine take center stage.
“He used to make a fun saying that people would see him in a march in a car and say, ‘Hey, there’s Midge and whatshisname,'” McClelland’s replacement, Sheriff Scott Hildenbrand, told the Associated Press. “She was actually more popular than him.”
Both of them retired at the end of 2016, putting an end to two successful careers and a good friendship.
“He spent 44 years protecting citizens in this area, and to be honest, he enjoyed every moment of it,” Hildenbrand said of McClelland. “I never believed he’d retire.”
The fact that they passed almost at the same time was both heartbreaking and fitting for their lives together.
According to the Associated Press, Sheriff McClelland and Midge will be buried together.