Forget the gold watch – retired officer gets steaks
After 42 years serving the South Lake Tahoe Police Department, officer Hobbes received a couple of small steaks for her dedication to the community.
In human time, the number of years was actually six that Hobbes worked as a canine officer for the police department which is left without a trained service dog for the first time in more than 16 years. Hobbes retired in September.
Chief Don Muren said a new service dog will arrive sometime next month and be ready for duty in May. In the meantime the department will summon canine officers for searches and other needs from sheriff’s departments in El Dorado and Douglas counties.
“We have a mutual aid agreement with both agencies,” Muren said.
The cost of service dogs runs between $5,000 to $10,000, depending on the type of training received. Additional costs include dog food, more training and modifications to patrol vehicles.
Hobbes’ departure also left handler David Allen without a partner on a lonelier patrol in South Lake Tahoe. While in the police vehicle, Hobbes would often place her paw on her partner’s shoulder.
“I miss that,” Allen said. “It’s very, very quiet in my patrol car.”
“She was always there,” he added at one point. “In her six years of working she probably missed two shifts.”
Hobbes, a black Belgium Malinois who turned 9 years old on the Fourth of July, has taken her retirement in stride, often napping at the stair landing of Allen’s house instead of finding hiding criminals, subduing combative subjects and conducting public relations at events such as Fire Fest.
“Whenever I made a traffic stop (Hobbes was) always barking, creating noise,” Allen said. “Nobody will really know how many times she saved me from being assaulted.”
Allen recounted when Hobbes took down a “very large” man, about 225 pounds and 6-foot-4-inches tall, who was on cocaine.
Dogs trained for law enforcement duty usually stay on the job for five years. Allen can’t imagine being a handler for another dog. The department has conducted interviews for the next handler.
“I could apply for it but I won’t,” Allen said. “It’s a huge commitment. It’s a 5-year commitment … It’s the hardest thing I’ve ever done in police work. The dog never ever gets a day off.
“I (could) live for a million years and I will never find another dog like Hobbes.”
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