The AISD Police Department honored a special member of the force Friday. Officer K-9 Buddy celebrated his retirement after serving 11 years as a drug dog.
Buddy, now 13, was the first member in the department's K-9 unit. Over the years he's also moonlighted with the Austin Police Department, the FBI and other law enforcement agencies.
"He's head and shoulders above the rest when it comes to his work ethic," AISD Police K-9 supervisor Sgt. David Stovall said. "He loves his job. He's always on point, and he is focused. He's definitely focused."
Buddy's illustrious career spanned more than 1,000 drug busts, the discovery of two murder weapons, and the winning of a couple gold medals in the Police Olympics.
Buddy's handler and best friend, Det. Travis Pickford, has worked with the dog for three years. The two remain inseparable.
"It's like bringing your best friend to work every day," Pickford said. "You spend that much time with your dog, 24/7 pretty much. He doesn't let me out of his sight while we're at home or while we're at work."
Now it was finally time for the English Spaniel to kick back, Pickford said. Buddy will live out his days at the detective's home.
"[He'll be] probably chasing the neighbor's cat, laying on his dog bed and eating milk bones," Pickford said.
In addition to retiring with admiration and respect from his law enforcement colleagues, Buddy will live out his days with retirement benefits. The Austin Crime Commission has a program called 401 K-9, which accepts donations to help retired dogs with medical expenses.