Having a dog of my own, this story hit deep.

Sadly, on Wednesday, February 9, the Bristol County Sheriff's Office said farewell to one of their own: a K-9 officer by the name of Rony (pronounced "Ron-ee"). Rony's assigned officer was Captain Paul Douglas of the Bristol County Sheriff's K-9 Unit. In fact, he was more than just Douglas's partner, he was a beloved part of his family.

Rony was diagnosed with spleen cancer back in September of 2021 and was going to be 12 years old on May 4. Together, Douglas and Rony worked as a team, patrolling for narcotics from day one on March 4, 2013 up until his K-9 retirement back in September of 2020. Douglas himself has been with the Sheriff's Office since September of 1999.

"He was part of the family and even stayed upstairs with us after he retired," Douglas said, "One thing I've always done in my career (with the K-9s) when they're in the work zone, you have to separate them from family, but once he was off the force and his job was complete, I slowly began mingling him in with the family. He was great at being able to turn it on and off, go to work and do his job and then come home to my family."

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Unfortunately, the lifespan of canines is limited and complications such as spleen cancer will only shorten the time spent with them. Rony is the second K-9 partner Douglas had to say his goodbyes to; on July 8, 2017, he also parted with his K-9 Alfie.

"My 10-year-old son took it really hard, as did my 13-year old daughter," Douglas said. "He carries around his collar, sleeps with it, goes to school with it, and my 13-year-old daughter made a heart shape out of his badge collar on her bureau to remember him by."

These days, Douglas patrols with Huntah, a very special COVID-sniffing dog with one purpose: to keep the schools and community safe from the harmful and highly contagious coronavirus.

The BCSO released the news to the public on Wednesday with the following Instagram post:

Rony's career was nothing shy of extraordinary, once helping the DEA find over 100 pounds of marijuana, among many other cases. He was a pivotal team player on the K-9 unit, not only helping to make Bristol County a safer place to live but also leaving a positive impression on the SouthCoast community.

"He was a very tactical dog with great obedience," Douglas said. "You could go into a building and he would be very sharp, very focused on his mission. We spent a lot of time on the obedience training and it paid off on his tactical side in the end."

It's never easy losing a family member, especially when it's your work partner who has been by your side every day from the moment you wake up until it's time to hit the hay.

"It was tough to say goodbye, I'll admit it," Douglas said. " Losing Rony hurts, it really does. He was a great dog, an awesome dog, especially with my family. I'll never forget him."

Last, but never least, I'd like to express my deepest gratitude to Rony for the time dedicated to the citizens of Bristol County, as well as his brotherhood with the Sheriff's Office and most importantly with Capt. Douglas and his family.

Rest easy, good boy, you will be dearly missed.

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