NEWPORT NEWS, VA. (WVEC) - The Newport News Police Department held a memorial service Monday night for its two K-9s Duke and Hammer. Both passed away unexpectedly earlier this year.
"To a K-9 handler, a dog is much more than a part of the family," explained MPO Jeff Wright.
A K-9 is a loving partner and companion, so when the he or she passes away unexpectedly it's heartbreaking for the family and the department.
Assistant Police Chief Stacy Kelly said, "We see them as officers, and that is why we wanted to take the time to acknowledge their service and acknowledge them."
Dozens gathered to remember Duke the Bloodhound and Hammer the German Sheppard.
We are unsure how Duke died, but the department lost Hammer during a routine dental procedure. Both officers say the dogs could never be replaced. During the memorial, something special happened.
A bloodhound breeder from Pennsylvania drove hours to hand deliver the 14-week-old puppy to Officer Stewart. Salena King says this isn't her first time handing off a dog to become a K-9.
King explained, "It makes us feel very happy and we are actually doing something than just having puppies. We are actually making a difference to someone out there with one of our bloodhounds."
Officer Stewart will take the pup home Monday night for the first time and it looks like he's not the only one excited. Training for PJ will start in the next couple weeks.