A Fort Worth police officer's retired search-and-rescue dog who won a national award for heroic hounds passed away this week.
His partner & owner, Officer Cole Brock, shared this message on the Fort Worth Police Department's Facebook page:
"I once heard that the best thing about having a dog is the unconditional love they exhibit alongside the everlasting dog smile and the 'puppy dog eyes,' which radiate their personality; however, I also heard the worst thing about having a dog is the final goodbye.
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"There is no easy way to say goodbye, and realizing that the time is imminent is even worse. Luca was sadly diagnosed with Degenerative Myelopathy a few years back, but despite the diagnosis being known to have a grim ending, he never let it stop him from living a happy, full life of helping others. Luca’s life was less than ordinary and he did incredible things thanks to incredible people being a part of his life and believing in him.
"To all of you, my most heartfelt and sincerest thanks. I can’t find the words to express my gratitude enough, and I am forever humbled by all the love and support you all gave for Luca...
"Despite this being the end, please know Luca wasn’t in any pain and he didn’t suffer. It was very sudden and up 'til his last breath, his personality that defined him still shined strong through his definitive 'puppy dog' eyes and that class smile of his.”
- Officer Cole Brock
At 10-years-old, Luca was called back into action in April 2016. Police had no leads in the search for a missing man with Alzheimer's disease.
Luca excelled for years in search-and-rescue missions, so his handler, Officer Cole Brock, went home to get him and bring him to the scene – a salvage yard.
Luca was able to find the man, who was waist deep in mud and running water in the Trinity River.
Police said he would have died without Luca's help.
Luca was a finalist for the "Hero Dog Awards" in July. Thanks to community support and public vote, Luca won the Search and Rescue Category.
Luca and Officer Brock were in Hollywood last month for the award show.
"I can’t thank everybody enough for all you did to get him there to L.A. for that award show, because you have no idea how much love and attention he received while we were there just last month," said Brock.