Police Dog Takes One Last Ride

Just a few short months after her retirement, a decorated police K9 was diagnosed with terminal cancer, and before he was forced to bid her farewell, her handler took her out for one last ride in his cruiser.

The 11-year-old German shepherd, Kora, put in 9 years of commendable service with the West Hartford Police department before being retired in August. Around the same time, her handler, Officer Eric Rocheleau, noticed that she seemed sluggish and under the weather.

The dog lived with Rocheleau during her retirement, and when she took a turn for the worse on Monday, he brought her into his vet for a checkup. The news he was given could not have been worse: an ultrasound revealed that Kora’s spine and liver were covered in tumors that had advanced to the point of causing internal bleeding.

photo: Richard Messina/Hartford Courant

Determined to save Kora, Rocheleau sought a second opinion, but was saddened to learn that nothing could be done: she would have to be euthanized within a matter of days to prevent her from suffering greatly. Loving her as he did, Rocheleau accepted the diagnosis and prepared to say goodbye to his devoted partner and friend.

It was decided that before her final vet appointment, Kora should be given a chance to spend one last day at the job she loved so much. She spent part of her day at the office with Rocheleau before taking one last spin in his cruiser.

“I was met at the vet with my old cruiser, and we were able to give Kora one last ride in her old car,” Rocheleau told the Hartford Courant on Thursday. “Both K-9 handlers, the K-9 unit supervisor, the sergeant on duty and animal control were there to give me support.”

At the end of the ride, Rocheleau took Kora home for one last goodbye. A few hours later, she was gone, her partner left grieving the dog that he described as “a member of the police department’s family.”

Kora was given a merit award for her bravery while working a 2003 robbery in Bloomfield. She was the fourth dog to be retired from the department, and officers celebrated her last day on the job with a party.

Rocheleau said he will miss his partner, but is so glad they had one last day on the job together. “We worked at the front desk, and I am so thankful I brought her that day,” Rocheleau said. “A lot of people got to see her and pet her, not knowing what was going on.”


  1. stacy counts says on  01/05/2012 at 8:30 pm

    I feel so bad for the officer who had to put his k-9 partner to sleep. i know how he felt,not long ago i had to put my little dogs down because they were so old with alot of health problems. but i just want this officer to know that shes not in pain any more,and that shes in good hands now. shes with the lord. my blessings to him,and his family!

    stacy counts.

  2. Anonymous says on  01/05/2012 at 8:38 pm

    Bravo to everyone involved. May Kora guard the Gates of Heaven while she is waiting for her family.

  3. Lori says on  01/06/2012 at 12:26 am

    My sympathies to the officer. Our puppy chose to die in my arms on the way to the vet for his final crossing of the Rainbow Bridge.

  4. Nicole says on  01/06/2012 at 12:53 pm

    I could not be a more proud resident of CT. My career goal is to be a cop with a K9. I only hope my K9 is half the dog Kora is. Rest In Peace, Sweet Girl.


  5. We share a bond that only others like us will ever understand. Your work is done here, rest in peace my friend.

    Thoughts and prayers from your brothers at RI Police Work Dog Association.

    • Anonymous says on  01/07/2012 at 11:14 am

      May all the service dogs be honored. The Seeing Eye, the Guide Dogs, the police dogs, the army dogs, and dogs that amuse, entertain, guard and protect us… the dogs that give us a reason to get up in the morning… the dogs that keep us from being lonely, the dogs that watch our children, the dogs that protect our flocks, sniff out bombs, drugs, weapons, and termites and bedbugs, the dogs that put up with us, tolerate our mistakes, our abuse, our ignorance, the dogs that love us UNCONDITIONALLY, may all these dogs that have endured pain, suffering, puppy mill breeding, laboratory experimentations and horrible owners, beating, starving, fighting, may all the dogs that ran like the wind to deliver the lifesaving serum to Nome, Alaska, saved lives and rescued countless people from tragic circumstances, to the dogs that found the dead on 911 in New York, to the dogs that wait patiently for us to return home after work, to the dogs that just love us for only one reason…LOVE… May all these dogs find a Rainbow Bridge one day…. a place of ultimate love and safety…. peace, warmth, no pain, no tears, no sorrow. For God created dogs for us….. We need them more than we can imagine. Thank you God.

      • Rachel says on  01/07/2012 at 11:20 am

        Thank you Sandy for posting the story. You know that I love dogs… How could we not… That long post was from me, just forgot to type in my name. Lexus understands…..

  6. Mike says on  01/06/2012 at 6:03 pm

    What a heart warming story about this officer and his partner. May God protect all Officers and their K9 partners. My deepest gratitude and respect.

  7. Lee says on  01/06/2012 at 6:09 pm

    Religious/biblical experts seem to mostly agree dogs do not have souls. I seem to disagree. I am quite sure they do. RIP Kora. May those she left behind find comfort. DOGS—perhaps the most awesome of God’s creatures.

    • Rachel says on  01/07/2012 at 11:23 am

      Yes, dogs have souls and anyone who thinks differently, well they have to deal with God, for it says in the Bible, that God CREATED ALL THE CREATURES, and if you were created, then you have a soul. Dogs are mammals, they have lives, feelings, and if they aren’t in heaven, then let me to stay where they are after death.

    • Terry says on  01/09/2012 at 2:00 am

      Lee, I have to agree with you, I do believe they have a soul and there will be dogs in Heaven. God tells us that Heaven wil be a perfect place, no place could be perfect without a dog being there.

  8. cindy says on  01/06/2012 at 7:12 pm

    11 years is a long life for a German Shepherd. RIP sweet Kora. I am sure you are sadly missed and were greatly loved.

  9. Earl Green says on  01/06/2012 at 7:20 pm

    My heart goes out as I salute a brave
    member of law enforcement.
    I have 11 yr old Shepard “Prowler”
    4 yrs ago yesterday saved my life by
    Trying to tear my bedroom door down
    as I was asleep with my house
    burning down around me, as I was sick
    I was in a deep sleep he actually was
    ramming my door
    Firemen said another 3 to 4 minutes
    I would have been gone
    I love my dog and dread the day he

    • Rachel says on  01/07/2012 at 11:29 am

      Many animals have saved us. There are so many stories of animals saving people from burning houses. One may say that the dog was trying to just save his own life, but, NO, the dog had a way out, but instead risked his own life to get you out, safely!!!! You dog loves you, that is the only answer. I also dread, hughly the day my Lexus dies. She has been nothing but special to me all of her life. The love I feel for her is enormous, as I know you understand. May all these animals one day cross over the Rainbow Bridge to a place of love, warmth, kindness, peace and anything else that is wonderful for them. And… may be all be reunited with our loved pets one day. I cannot imagine anyother way…. The grief would be too unbearable…..

  10. Dan says on  01/06/2012 at 7:35 pm

    The most difficult thing I’ve ever had to do in my life was put my partner “Lady” (Narcotics detector dog), to sleep……….It’ll be 3 years this May and I think about her everyday. My thoghts are with you Officer Rocheleau.
    US CBP K9 Officer

  11. Brendia Pack says on  01/06/2012 at 8:53 pm

    I know how it feels to lose a fur baby with cancer. My almost 12 year old Toy Poodle, Ginger left me in august, 2011. I held her in my arms till she was gone. O How I miss that precious baby. But I know God will make it right for her and we will be together again, never to part!!

  12. jwebre says on  01/06/2012 at 11:18 pm

    My heart goes out to you and your family. Making the decision you had to make is one of the hardest things you will ever do. My son had to make the same decision for his faithful partner and friend last June. We still miss our favorite boy on a daily basis. God BLess you and we are so sorry for your loss.

  13. R. YOUNG says on  01/07/2012 at 12:52 am

    Although we do it with a heart that is breaking we do it for we know it is the right thing to do. It is not pleasant, it is not pleasurable. But to watch our loved one suffer in pain and agony, NO! Officer R there is a wonderous place and Kora is there waiting for you, young and whole once again!

  14. My sympathies to K-9 Officer Kora’s family. A fitting final day for a heroic canine. Patrol those great fields beyond the Rainbow Bridge, Kora.

  15. Anonymous says on  04/05/2012 at 6:54 pm

    I just can’t read any more comments. It hit home!

  16. Working K9 Association of Central PA says on  04/13/2012 at 11:19 am

    Officer Rocheleau you fulfilled your commitment to K9 Kora with the ultimate act of love and friendship by sticking with her at the end. You gave her a wonderful moment that took her back to her younger vibrant years and you said goodbye with love and respect. She couldn’t have asked for more in a partner than to have you by her side when she needed you most, just like she was by your side all those years. RIP K9 Kora. You deserve to run free again with no pain at Rainbow Bridge. I lost my K9 partner in 2011 at the age of 14 1/2. There is never a day that you won’t remember the bond you had and the love you shared. Peace to you.

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