YCSO handler adopts retiring K-9
Yavapai County Sheriff's Office K-9 Aros retired and was adopted Monday for $1 at the Yavapai County Board of Supervisors meeting by his handler for the past four years, YCSO Deputy Harry Shrum.
During his 10 years on the job, Aros helped seize hundreds of pounds of marijuana, cocaine, methamphetamine and other drug contraband, Shrum said.
Aros, a 12-year-old a Belgian Malinois K-9, had two previous handlers, Shrum said.
K-9s usually retire after about 10 years on the job, because patrol work is so physical and can be rough on a dog who might sustain neck or hip injuries, Shrum said.
"A lot of departments have dual-purpose dogs," Shrum said, explaining that patrol dogs apprehend and bite a suspect and specialized dogs detect bombs and narcotics.
Aros was trained as a dual-purpose K-9 to do patrol and narcotics work, but did only narcotics work according to YCSO policy, Shrum said.
As a general rule, most departments give the K-9 handler first choice to adopt the dog upon its retirement.
"Police dogs tend to be high-strung and playful. Some patrol dogs might not be suitable for a family atmosphere," Shrum said. "In Aros' case, he's just another member of the family."
Shrum said Aros likes to lay down on the rug next to his 4-year-old daughter, play, rest on the couch, and sleep in the house with the family.
"I shared a car with him for four years. We were together 24 hours a day. They become a big part of your life," Shrum said. "Aros watches me get ready in the morning and doesn't know why he's not going. It's all they know - they get up and they go to work."
Aros is kept separate from Shrum's new K-9 and two of his family's other dogs, because he doesn't interact well with other large dogs, but gets along fine with people and the family's small house dog, Shrum said.
For the past three months, Shrum has been working with his new K-9, Bo, a 1 1/2-year-old Labrador.
"Aros is one of the best dogs I've ever seen," Shrum said. "So it's a real challenge getting used to a new dog and developing his skills. Working with a new partner takes some getting used to."
Bo might get along well with the other dogs, but Shrum said he keeps his working dog separate and doesn't let him interact with his pets.
"K-9s are about $9,000 per dog and you don't take chances with an investment like that," Shrum said.