HEIDELBERG (KDKA) — Heidelberg’s only K-9 officer was memorialized Friday in a special ceremony.
A procession of police cars made their way to the Heidelberg Fire Hall to celebrate the life of K-9 Officer Rocky.
Rocky had to be put down after a hard fought battle with cancer.
His law enforcement career began thanks to a grant from the Ben Roethlisberger Foundation.
In 2008, the Heidelberg chief asked Sgt. Dennis Dixon, who was relatively new to the force, if he felt he could lead a K-9 unit. But there was something the chief didn’t know.
“Being a K-9 officer was a lifelong dream, and I was not going to let this opportunity pass me by,” said Sgt. Dixon.
So Sgt. Dixon began to search for his K-9 partner. It was a search which eventually led him to the small town of Muncy, Pennsylvania.
“After watching Rocky go through some basic tests, courage drills and commands, my wife and I looked at each other and said, ‘That’s the one we want,’” said Sgt. Dixon.
Sgt. Dixon and Rocky began training with the Pittsburgh K-9 Unit – 40 hours per week for 16 weeks.
“I did have my moments when I questioned mine and Rocky’s capabilities; however, in the back of my head, I could hear one of our trainers in the background saying, ‘Trust your dog, trust your dog, trust your dog.’ Well, I did just that and trusted Rocky with my life,” Sgt. Dixon said.
That trust led to an inseparable bond for seven years until Rocky was diagnosed with cancer.
“Rocky was not just a dog, he was my eyes, my ears, my hands, my legs. He was my partner,” Sgt. Dixon said.