JOHNS CREEK, Ga. — The retired K-9 Dano, one of Johns Creek’s original K-9 officers, passed away at 12 years old on May 26.
The Czech Shepherd retired in 2017 after eight years of service with Sgt. James Zebley. Together, Dano and Zebley found illegal drugs, lost children, missing endangered adults and criminals. The duo found 15.5 pounds of marijuana, 2 kilograms of cocaine, 1.76 pounds of methamphetamine and 2.2 pounds of heroin since Dano’s career started in April 2009.
“K-9 Dano was a true warrior, an ultimate sheepdog,” Johns Creek Police Department wrote in a Facebook post commemorating Dano’s death. “He for sure has crossed that rainbow bridge and welcomed to Valhalla.”
The department also posted the poem “Guardians of the Night” in the post to honor Dano.
Zebley and Dano first met in Virginia Beach when the canine flew in from the Czech Republic. All of Dano’s commands are in Slovak, Zebley said during a demonstration.
When he wasn’t in the streets trying to find criminals, lost citizens or drugs, Dano would help Zebley perform demonstrations for students in the Johns Creek area. These included showing how Dano could find drugs in a room, biting someone’s heavily padded arm and talking about Dano’s car — a special Chevrolet Tahoe built with a flat backseat area equipped with a water bowl, fan and temperature control system.
There were three occasions in the field when Dano had to bite someone, Zebley said during a demonstration. After the second incident when a man was being aggressive to police and Dano had to bite the man’s arm to restrain him, the man he bit told police how well trained he thought the dog was, Zebley said. He stopped biting as soon as the man stopped fighting, he said.
The dog was bored at the beginning of retirement, Zebley said.
“Since 2009, he came to work, he always wanted to work, and he was actually mad if he didn’t get to go to work,” he said around the time of Dano’s retirement. “He loved it that much.”
It is possible he won’t get another dog after Dano since being promoted, Officer Madhusudana Meberg said.
The department’s poem concluded: “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.”