By Herb Meeker
News Report Staff
Last week, Effingham Police officer Danny Lake was accepting condolences for a partner who was also a member of his family.
Kilo, the silver and black German Shepherd retired police canine, was euthanized when it became clear his health problems were making him helpless and suffering from severe pain. Kilo was 14.
“The vet told us there was no way to save him. So we had him put down at the house. We didn’t want him to suffer,” said Lake, who worked with Kilo for almost 10 years. “Everybody has been wonderful about this. The Chief came up and gave his condolences. People have been posting on Facebook with so many hits. We went everywhere, so everyone knew Kilo. It makes you proud.”
Lake remembers the days when he would bring Kilo out of the squad car. The dog never had to be psyched up for any duty at hand.
“He could find the bad guys and find the dope,” Lake said. “In three seconds after he was out of the car, I could tell someone was out there by just the way he was acting. With a dog like that, you felt like nothing could hurt you. I always knew he would walk into a burning house after me if he had to.”
Kilo’s abilities were demonstrated through the 37 citations he earned from the United States Police Canine Association for successful drug finds and tracking operations. Kilo’s nose helped keep a large amount of drugs and marijuana off the streets.
Tracking of subjects was a specialty of Kilo. He once tracked down two defendants after they split up and ran separate ways.
“He just went down one of the trails and helped catch one. Then he back-tracked to that split in the trail and caught up with the other guy. He was awesome,” Lake recalled.
That two-for-one apprehension earned Kilo “Catch of the Year” through the police canine organization.
When a canine officer’s shift is done, he does not lock up the dog inside a cage or room at the police station. The dog ends his beat with his human master at that officer’s home. Some police canines don’t always mix right with a family setting. That was not the case with Kilo.
“With us, he was part of the family. He was a very gentle dog at home. That’s not always the case with these dogs. They are usually alphas,” Lake noted.
“I remember when one of our sons was in his high chair and decided to offer Kilo a little piece of cake. The dog had just sat there waiting to see if he’d get a piece. And when it was handed his way, he just gradually took it off the fork without touching the hand. It was something to watch,” Lake recalled.
But the dog that went after the bad guys could be a little ornery in a loving way toward Terri, Danny’s wife. Kilo was definitely a prankster when he would carry off her bottle of Coke.
“He’s 100 pounds and what do you say to him when he runs off with that bottle? He just liked playing tricks,” Lake said with a laugh.
Terri once reminded Danny and their three sons, Mitch, Jade and Tyler, that police canines take after their masters. She noted that Danny was a prankster himself.
After retiring in November 2013, Kilo would live the Life of Riley with all kinds of meat and even bones from Nuxoll’s. But age would eventually catch up with him
He followed the service of other EPD police dogs, Magnum and Zeus. Narco and Andy Warner are the K-9 team in Effingham nowadays and that team’s energy and dedication draws great praise.
Will Lake ever consider working with another K-9 dog in the future? He said his time has passed for that duty.
“You have to be a young pup to work with a dog with this job. It’s one of the best jobs I ever had,” he said.
And he’ll always have memories of a partner who made him feel 10-feet tall.