After almost seven years of service, Bullitt is retiring from his day job of searching vehicles in traffic stops and occasionally venturing out to the Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport to offer his help.
Check out the tribute video to Bullitt here.
At nine years old, the Flower Mound K-9 dog is going to spend the rest of his days in retirement, comfortably ensconced in the family home of Officer Doug Kriese, who has worked with him as a partner since May 2011.
It’s a partnership filled with mutual admiration and love as Kriese deftly picks out a squeaky toy from a basket of retirement goodies, knowing exactly what Bullitt enjoys – play time.
“That’s what makes a good K-9 dog,” Kriese said, explaining that he has used toys as a way to reward the Belgian Shepherd for his work. Though some K-9 officers use food, food isn’t what makes Bullitt bark.
A bone cake from Three Dog Bakery with carob chip, carrot, peanut butter and coconut wished him farewell.
Though a slice was cut for Bullitt to taste, he was more interested in the basket filled with toys.
A squeak in a bone-shaped toy with leopard print was quickly dispatched, Bullitt knowing exactly where to bite.
Soon, officer and partner turned playmate began playing tug of war with a rope-shaped toy while volunteers, officers and other Flower Mound employees gathered to wish their four-legged co-worker farewell.
“Kids just love him,” said volunteer Pat Graves. “He’s good with children, very gentle.”
Responding to his partner’s commands in Czech, Bullitt lapped up the attention — from belly rubs to pats on the head to hugs during his retirement party on Friday at the Flower Mound Police Department off Cross Timbers Road.
Bullitt officially ended his career on April 12. Since then, both Kriese and his partner have missed each other’s company during the day.
“I miss the camaraderie,” Kriese said. “It’s quiet. I miss the barking.”
Kriese’s wife told him Bullitt now roams their house looking for his partner and stands by the front door to await his return after the shift ends.
Bullitt will soon be replaced by Paige, another Belgian Shepherd currently in training with her partner, Officer Matthew Dolan.
Born and bred outside of San Antonio, the K-9 dogs and their partner officers then undergo month-long training at U.S. Canine in Kaplan, Louisiana.
Paige and Officer Dolan are expected to be on the job soon, officials said. In the meantime, agreements with neighboring police departments will allow them to use their K-9 officers and dogs if the need arises.
For Bullitt, the days of searching vehicles or people for illegal drugs are over. Now, he’ll have plenty of time to play with the squeaky toys he enjoys.
“Overall, he’s been an outstanding dog,” said Assistant Chief Wendell Mitchell of Bullitt’s career with the department helping to rid the town of drugs.
“We hate to see him go,” he said. “He’s going home to live out the rest of his days with a loving home.”