A farewell ceremony and a welcome ceremony have been held in Newtown for two K9s.
The Newtown Police Department said goodbye Thursday to K9 Officer Baro, a 10-year old German Shepherd who passed away in June from health problems that forced an early retirement. The new K9 officer arrived in Newtown on Wednesday. The ceremony included a moment of silence, personal remembrances and the final roll call for Baro.
American Kennel Club Director of Communications Lisa Peterson says yesterday's ceremony started with Baro’s Last Ride, a K9 Patrol vehicle procession escorted by more than 30 K9 units from around the state.
$14,000 in donations and grants from the American Kennel Club community as well as delegates and local residents helped Newtown purchase and train their new K9 officer. It started with a $500 donation by the Trap Falls Kennel Club and Chris Sweetwood. He served in Iraq with Newtown K9 Unit Officer Matt Hayes nearly a decade ago and reunited last year at a dog event.
Newtown's resources were stretched thin after the response to Sandy Hook Elementary. Baro hadn't responded to the school but offered comfort for the police department and community in the aftermath, going above and beyond his police duties.