Each year, in memory of SPD K9 Officer Ace, we will have the “Ace Award” at the annual Run with the Cops 5k. This will consist of a $100 Amazon Gift Card being presented to the runner or walker who places exactly in the “middle of the pack”… Below is K9 Ace’s story, written by his K9 partner and co-chair of Run with the Cops 5k, Sgt. Josh Dobson.
K9 Ace: It was a standard morning routine… A simple phrase “You wanna go to work” that would erupt a quiet morning into a flurry of scrambling paws, whining, and stampeding to the door as my partner “Ace” scrambled to the front driveway.
On the morning of Friday May 18, 2018, as I got dressed to ready myself for my shift, that phrase “You wanna go to work” was met with an eerie and very sad silence. As I looked at my partner he stared back at me but could not move. His eyes bright with desire, however his body just would not respond. Cancer had taken its toll and now prevented him from doing what he most wanted to do. Be with me. Every movement was met with pain. I knew it was time. I had to say goodbye.
In February 2018, Ace was diagnosed with Hemangiosarcoma. Terminal cancer. Luckily, Ace was unaware and unphased. Working K9’s possess the unique and empowering ability to not feel sorry for themselves.. To his credit, Ace valiantly ignored his cancer every single day. In the months after his diagnosis Ace continued to engage and educate the public regarding police working dogs with appearances on Good Day Sacramento, The SPCA Doggy Dash, and our own K9 Comedy Night. Still a working crime-fighter, Ace even deployed to assist patrol units and capture a burglar just weeks ago. Today he was on his way to use his nose to sniff out explosives to keep the community safe.
Cancer may have cut my amazing partner’s life short; however, by no means was his life unfulfilled. Ace was born in the Czech Republic on November 29, 2012. He was purchased by the Sacramento Police Department by a vendor in Riverside, CA with the assistance of a substantial donation made by a supportive Sacramento family. A total community effort.
Ace and I met in the summer of 2014. Having previously selected a K9 that failed his physical examination, I was reluctant to even give a name this new, big eared, huge-pawed, sable german shepherd, “goofball”, until I knew he was going to stay. For his first physical appointment the paperwork simply read “the Sacramento police K9 formerly known as.” It was not until I got news from the staff at VCA Sacramento Veterinary Referral Center that this particular dog “aced” his physical. It was then I knew a name had been chosen and our partnership was about to begin.
Ace quickly rose through the ranks, obtaining POST patrol qualifications, explosive detection expertise, and special training to deploy with the SWAT team. For a first time K9 Handler, like myself, Ace exceeded my expectations and surprised me with his performance at work on the streets of Sacramento.
In 2016, K9 Ace acted as an ambassador to the community being the face of our inaugural “Run with the Cops & K9 5K”.
In 2017, K9 Ace and I survived two separate police shootings where he was right by my side in each critical incident. His steadfast loyalty, courage, and later his cuddles helped me process these traumatic events. He was a trusted partner, proving his valor, and drive. Ace was more than a working dog, his sociability and charm was one of his greatest assets. He was equally happy to chase “bad guys” or visit children at local elementary schools. He was a total package for our Sacramento Police K9 team.
At home Ace was one of the family. A total character, Ace would entice you to play ball when you were feeling down and try hard to pretend to be a “lap dog” when you needed a snuggle. Some of my best memories are the moments of hilarity that would ensue by Ace’s antics off-duty with our friends and family. His drive to hunt for “lasers” was legendary!
Every day I had with Ace was a blessing. Having Ace by my side has added energy, life, and love to my law enforcement career. For that I am eternally grateful and will never forget him. He will forever be remembered.