Stargazing

A lingering image: Hero’s farewell for Judge, a New Jersey K-9 dog

Officer Mike Franks walks Judge into the veterinary clinic. Judge carries a “sleeve” used in training K-9 dogs. It often becomes a toy to them.
Officer Mike Franks walks Judge into the veterinary clinic. Judge carries a “sleeve” used in training K-9 dogs. It often becomes a toy to them. Gloucestercountyonline.com/ABC News

People are still sharing this heartbreaking photo on social media, five days after the West Deptford Police Department in New Jersey gave a hero’s farewell to their beloved retired K-9 dog, Judge.

Police officers and canine units from all over south New Jersey lined up outside the Swedesboro Animal Hospital St. Francis Veterinary Clinic to say goodbye.

Judge had Cushing’s Disease which caused him unbearable complications, including tumors and nose bleeds. He started his work with the department in 2007 and retired in 2013.

Because of Judge’s “fearless service, 152 suspects were arrested for criminal offenses, 3 motor vehicles were seized, 3 handguns were taken off of the streets, countless amounts of drugs were seized, and over $47,000 in currency were taken from people involved in illegal activity,” the West Deptford police wrote on Facebook.

“This doesn't even take into account the amount of positive interactions K-9 Judge had with our children and members of our community during demonstrations and events.”

Officer Mike Franks told ABC News of the “overwhelming and positive support” that he and Judge felt on that last day.

“Though Judge was extremely lethargic and could barely walk the days before the ceremony, he was able to bite onto his favorite protective decoy arm sleeve used in training and carry it into the hospital.”

And that’s the photo – brave Judge making his last walk – that has brought tears to thousands of people in recent days.

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