Bodie, the retired police dog who captured Sacramento-area residents’ hearts after he was shot in the line of duty in 2012, was laid to rest Monday.
The 8-year-old German shepherd was eulogized during a public funeral at East Lawn Sierra Hills Pet Cemetery. Sacramento police Sgt. Randy Van Dusen, Bodie’s handler, said that to his knowledge this was the first time the department had opened a service for a police dog to the community.
“But the public really adopted Bodie,” he said.
Bodie died Nov. 8, five days after he fell ill with a bacterial infection. Van Dusen said the dog died peacefully and wasn’t in pain.
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Members of the public joined law enforcement officers and a contingent of law enforcement dogs to honor Bodie in the cemetery’s Garden of Honor, just off Greenback Lane and Interstate 80. Lisa West, a spokeswoman for East Lawn, said Bodie is the 52nd law enforcement dog to be buried there since the pet cemetery opened in 1993.
Bodie was born March 27, 2009, in Bergen, Germany. In 2010, he was imported by Kreative Kennels in Turlock to become a police dog. He certified for patrol and narcotics detection and made a name for himself as loving and hardworking, Van Dusen said. After a short time on patrol, he became a SWAT dog.
Bodie is credited with saving Van Dusen’s life on May 18, 2012, when he was shot trying to apprehend Lucas Jerome Webb, 33, a car-theft suspect, following a car chase and foot pursuit through Land Park.
Webb fired at Van Dusen, striking Bodie. The bullet shattered the dog’s jawbone and two toes, and nearly severed his tongue. Webb died in the exchange of gunfire that followed.
Bodie nearly bled to death. He received 17 units of blood when he arrived at a veterinary hospital and underwent five major surgeries.
Although he recovered from the gunshot wounds – Van Dusen recalled Bodie walking out of the veterinary hospital a week after he was shot – spinal surgery for a herniated disk raised concerns that the rigorous police work would be too much for the dog. After retiring in May 2013, Bodie became an ambassador, visiting schools and community events to help the Police Department acquaint the public with the role of its canine officers.
Sgt. Joshua Dobson, who directs the police canine unit, said the department has 11 dogs: nine for patrol and two specifically trained for bomb detection.
Bodie sired five puppies, which were born April 28, 2015. Blitz, the only male of the litter, joined the Citrus Heights Police Department in August.
Bodie lived out his days with the Van Dusen family, as well as his daughter Bailey and another retired police dog, Bosko.
“You can tell the house is a little quieter,” Van Dusen said, noting that Bailey and Bosko would vie for Bodie’s attention. “They look where he would normally lie. They know that he is missing.”
As is tradition at funerals for police dogs, Bodie’s service included the reading of a tribute “Guardians of the Night”:
“Trust in me, my friend, for I am your comrade. I will protect you with my last breath,” it begins. “When all others have left, and the loneliness of the night closes in, I will be at your side.”
It concludes, “If we should meet again on another street, I will gladly take up your fight. I am a police working dog, and together, we are guardians of the night.”