He was a familiar face with the Rocky Hill Police, and his name suited him well. The department's K-9, named "Rocky," had the fight --and a nose for his job.
For nine years the Dutch Sheppard served alongside Sgt. Erik Gutsfeld, who said "He was just the epitome of a police dog."
Gutsfeld, who also serves as the K-9 supervisor for the Rocky Hill Police Department, retired Rocky in 2012, but he says his dog won the hearts of the community after years of faithful service.
"Taking drugs off the street and finding guns that were used in a drive-by shooting, he did his part," Gutsfeld said.
It was just a few weeks ago that Gutsfeld and the Rocky Hill force received the news that Rocky was diagnosed with stomach and intestinal cancer. Veterinarians said he needed to be put to sleep. Reeling from the news, Gutsfeld and his fellow officers decided Rocky was going to go out on a high note, and they organized an honor ride.
"He had my back for nine years and I think I owed it to him to let him go with some dignity," Gutsfeld said.
On Monday, Gutsfeld put Rocky in his old squad car and the duo roamed the town's roads one more time. The two also played one last game of fetch at Rocky's favorite park.
Minutes later Gutsfeld drove his car into the driveway of the Rocky Hill Animal Hospital where K-9 cops from all over the area and much of the Rocky Hill force were standing and saluting as their K-9 commrade was lead into the vet's office.
"We all feel it, " said Michael Custer, the Rocky Hill Police chief, "Rocky is part of our family and losing him is very tough."
"We can't replace Rocky," Gutsfeld said. "Only time will heal these wounds."