Search And Rescue Dog Passes Away

COLUMBUS, Miss. (WCBI) – The Columbus Fire Department is mourning the loss of its longtime search and rescue dog.

Dillon lost his battle with cancer early Sunday morning, December 3.

Shortly after his diagnosis, the fire department retired him.

Dillon was a dog of many firsts, including the first of his kind for Columbus Fire and Rescue and in North East Mississippi.

He walked into th department when he was four years old and instantly had a place in everyone’s hearts.

“He had actually trained him for a team in Florida, but for some reason, they returned him and so he used Dillon as a trainer, he trained trainers how to train search dogs, but Dillon was such an asset that he hated to leave him at the kennel for his whole career so he actually donated him to us,” says Captain Wes Mims, Columbus Fire Department.

He was also the first K-9 to make Captain Wes Mims a handler.

“For the last six and a half years, we’ve barely been a part except for holidays,” says Mims.

Dillon was a search and rescue K-9 and was responsible for saving many lives including ones impacted by the 2014 tornado in Louisville, Mississippi.

He was a part of the Homeland Security Task Force 2 and could assist any where the team is deployed.

Captain Mims says his favorite memory with Dillon was learning how to trust him to do his job early on in their career.

“There was a demonstration and they had put somebody out there to hide and they had told me where she was suppose to be and Dillon went somewhere different well I pulled him off because I knew where she was suppose to be, so we went down to where she was suppose to be and Dillon wasn’t interested. So I learned right then, I said I bet she’s back there where he was the first time and she was,” remembers Mims.

The highly-skilled golden retriever was an invaluable asset to the department.

Firefighters say he could do things they couldn’t at times, including breaking barriers with people not wanting to talk.

“Dillon has been able to do things that members of the department haven’t been able to do. He’s his own person. He can go in the chief’s office. He can go and he can sit down and he can eat whenever he wants to,” says Duane Hughes, Assistant Fire Chief of the Columbus Fire and Rescue.

Although Dillon was sick, he still walked through the fire department’s doors every day with Handler Mims, just like he had done for almost seven years.

“He promised that once he found out who took his paperwork, they were going to be terminated and we found the paperwork with Dillon in his mouth and Chief Moore immediately did an about face and all mention of somebody being terminated was instantly forgotten and we all had a big laugh,” Hughes recalls.

Dillon was ten and a half years when he passed.

He’s buried here under an oak tree at Mims’s family’s farm.

The department says they’re mourning the loss just like they would any family member of the department.

Categories: Local News

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