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K9 and Handler Prepare for Retirement

TIFFIN, IA (CBS 2/FOX 28)--K-9 police teams from throughout the corridor descended on Tiffin today.

Not for a big drug bust, but to train how to make those busts.

It's training day for man's best friend or in this case, a police officer's partner.

Twice a month, the dogs and their handlers must train during eight hour sessions.

As part of the training, police officers hide drugs in the car and the dog has to search for it. If it sits or scratches, its found something.

The officers working, living and training with the K-9s.

"It kind of refreshes our trust in the dogs and the dogs trust in us. It just kind of gets them ready to go for what we need to use them on the streets for, said Chad Bender, K-9 handler for the Coralville Police Department.

For one team though, the training is almost over.

"He's kind of showing his age with his hips and things like that. So that's helping with my emotional side of it, said Corporal Jeff Hartwig of the Marion Police Department.

You see Hartwig's dog Rico is not only 12 and a half years old, he has cancer and is about to retire.

So that's helping with my emotional side of it, said Hartwig.

It's really a relationship.Hartwig and Rico have been together almost nine years and when Rico retires, he'll do so with Jeff.

"To be able to keep him until his dying day, I guess, will be, it's an honor to be able to keep him, said Hartwig

Until then, Rico and Jeff are ready to get back on the street.

Rico's retirement will be October 12th during a pancake breakfast for the Marion Police Department K-9 program.
 
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