A Newport Beach police detective has laid to rest his former partner, a loyal four-legged member of the force, the Police Department said.
Jardo, a 14-year-old retired police service dog, was euthanized Saturday at Costa Mesa Animal Hospital as a result of deteriorating health, the department said. He was in the company of his handler, Det. Mike Fletcher, and other handlers who worked alongside Jardo in the K-9 unit.
Jardo served with Fletcher from 2007 to 2015 and continued under his care into retirement, police said.
“Part of the responsibility is that the dog goes home with you every day,” Fletcher said. “For all that time, you and your dog are pretty much stuck together at the hip.”
Fletcher’s 13-year-old daughter Zoey Batchman grew up with Jardo and was devastated by the loss, Fletcher said.
“He’d listen to her before he’d listen to me,” he said.
The 60-pound, “small but mighty” Belgian Malinois was about 4 years old when he joined the Newport Police Department and was beloved by officers and the community, Fletcher said.
“Jardo was always a really big star in our canine shows,” Fletcher said. ”[He] was tremendously good with kids, good with everybody.”
Jardo posted eight apprehensions of violent-crime suspects and assisted several other operations as a patrol and narcotics detection dog. He also visited hospitals and greeted Scout troops, Fletcher said.
The Police Department began its K-9 program in the early 1980s, Fletcher said. It currently has two dogs.
Becoming a K-9 handler was a career goal for Fletcher since he was a boy aspiring to be a police officer. His time with Jardo made an impact, Fletcher said.