SPOKANE, Wash. — Sometimes it takes a good boy to catch a bad guy.
KREM 2 met K-9 Zeus and his handler, Spokane Police Officer Todd Belitz, right before their final patrol shift Monday night, marking the end of an impressive career.
"Yes, I'm his chauffeur and I drive him around, but he belongs to the City of Spokane," Belitz said. "He belongs to the taxpayers of Spokane. This is their dog."
Since 2015, Zeus has helped keep citizens and officers safe.
"These dogs absorb a vast majority of the threat for us on these calls when we use them," Belitz said. "We don't ever want to put our dogs in a situation where they are going to get injured but it's an absolute possibility when they do it."
He's been deployed more than 1,500 times and helped capture nearly 400 suspects.
"He was chasing a guy who ran and closed a gate on a 4-foot chain link fence and instead of jumping the fence like I anticipated him doing, he lowered his head and rammed his head through the gate and broke the latch on the gate and continued to pursue the guy and caught him on the side of the garage," Belitz said.
At almost 10 years old, Zeus isn't the young pup he used to be.
"The most difficult, professional decision I had to make," Belitz said.
Belitz knows it's time for his four-legged partner to retire.
"It's going to be a huge transition for both of us," Belitz said. "It's really hard not to get attached to them because we spend more time with these dogs than we do with our own wife and kids."
Zeus will soon have a lot more free time.
"He enjoys the lake," Belitz said. "He enjoys his black lab sister at home so they wrestle and play."
But, he'll still be a part of Officer Belitz's family.
"I've been extremely fortunate where I have gotten all of that in this dog," Belitz said.
Even after Zeus retires, he'll continue to live with Officer Belitz. He's traveling to Alabama later this week to find Zeus's replacement and another dog for the department.
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