Dogs have the instinctive drive to protect their pack, or in most cases, the humans who feed and love them. Most dog owners see their four-legged friends as beloved family members as well – ones who don’t care if you’ve showered, and would never ask what you’re doing with your life. But when dogs are employed, by schools, police departments, or some other public-facing industry, their packs grow exponentially. While they do have one person or family who technically qualifies as their owner, these incredible dogs are beloved by entire communities. If tragedy strikes, like it did for a heroic police dog named Hondo, the entire community feels the devastating loss.
Since 2015, Hondo lent his bravery and skills to the Herriman City police officers. The K-9 played an irreplaceable role in over 100 felony arrests and was respected across Utah for his impressive abilities. He worked hard while on the clock, but Hondo’s family and coworkers loved him for far more than his professional skill set. In a tragic turn of events, 7-year-old Hondo was killed in the line of duty on February 13, 2020.
It is with heavy hearts that we announce the passing of Herriman Police K9 Hondo, who was killed in the line of duty last night while assisting the U.S. Marshal’s Office in apprehending a dangerous fugitive.
A press conference will be held today at 3pm at the Herriman City Hall pic.twitter.com/CuABvAmipy
— Herriman PD (@HerrimanPolice) February 14, 2020
Hondo’s death devastated his humans, and fellow officers mourned the loss of their furry teammate. To honor the pup’s sacrifice, they decided to give Hondo a hero’s farewell. Officers contacted a local auto body and paint shop, Rawtin Garage, with a unique and touching request. To commemorate Hondo, officers asked the Rawtin Garage staff to custom-paint a casket for their fallen friend.
In just 24 hours, staff completed the moving request in the most beautiful imaginable way. They hand-painted a stunning portrait of Hondo over an American flag background, even including the emblem of the K-9’s police department. As a nod to the pup’s sacrifice, the team did so free of charge.
“What an honor it was to paint a hero’s casket,” Rawtin Garage shared on Facebook, along with stunning pictures of Hondo’s casket. “The passing of Herriman Police K9 HONDO, who was killed in the line of duty while assisting the U.S Marshal’s Office in apprehending a dangerous fugitive.”