What could have been a ‘ruff’ ending to a 30-year career in the police force turned into a happy conclusion.
Officer Matt Hickey was a member of the Marietta Police Department’s K-9 unit up until last week when he retired.
The cop hoped upon retirement he could keep his four-legged partner Ajax, who had been at his side for the past three years but Hickey wasn’t allowed, even though the pup was being taken out of service as well.
“We train, and train, and train together,” Hickey said. “The blood, the sweat, the dirt, we do it all, and these are our pals, and our buddies.”
Marietta city officials said Hickey could not keep the pooch, as state law recognized Ajax as city property.
Instead, the city was going to auction the Ajax off for an appraised value of $3,500 US.
That’s when the community came to the aid of Hickey and Ajax.
A GoFundMe campaign was started, and more than $45,000 US was raised to help the duo stay together.
“I’m amazed by everyone that cares about this,” said an appreciative Hickey. “The calls I’ve been getting from other people, and the support, it’s amazing.”
Support for Hickey was so strong The Police Department changed their position on dealing the dog, and instead named Hickey an auxiliary officer, allowing him to keep Ajax.
“This is the best possible resolution for the city, the Police Department, former officer Hickey and Ajax,” the Marietta Police Department said in a statement.
Hickey says he plans to donate the proceeds of the GoFundMe campaign to an organization that provides bullet proof vests to K-9 officers.
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