ENID, Okla. — Members of the Enid Police Department and its K-9 unit gathered Friday morning to say happy retirement to K-9 Anakin.
The black German shepherd from Holland is retiring because of medical issues and will spend his time with former EPD K-9 Officer Chase Bouziden, Anakin's original handler.
"It’s an awesome feeling," Bouziden said of being reunited with his old partner. "I can't thank Chief (Brian) O’Rourke and (Sergeant) Ryan (Fuxa) and everybody enough for doing this. It's quite an honor to be considered and asked to take him."
Bouziden and Anakin began their partnership Dec. 28, 2010. The two trained together and spent hours working until Bouziden left the department in April 2013.
"He’s going to retire and enjoy retirement life. He’ll probably get a bit spoiled," Bouziden said. "I've got a couple daughters I think have fallen in love with him so I think he’ll get spoiled."
He said the thing he enjoyed most about working with Anakin was the time they got to spend together every day they worked.
"The whole experience of having him, working with him and everything, knowing I had that partner with me. We had a lot of fun training and working and I spent a lot of time with him. Ten-hour shifts, four days a week," he said. "There was a whole bunch of it that sticks out to me."
Bouziden, who works for the Woods County Sheriff's Office, said Anakin will be another member of the family.
Sgt. Ryan Fuxa, along with his family, worked with Anakin to rehabilitate following back surgery at Oklahoma State University's Boren Veterinary Medical Teaching Hospital
Fuxa, who oversees the department's K-9 unit, said Anakin's road to recovery have been a long one.
"Anakin has been through a lot over the last six months and he’s really lucky he came out where he is. He was fighting a lot of medical issues," he said. "We need to thank the department, especially Chief O'Rourke because a lot of departments would not have done the things we did so he could live a happy, healthy life. I also wanted to OSU veterinary clinic over there. Anakin has such an outgoing personality and once you get to know him you'd love him to death and everyone over there loved him.
"If Anakin could talk, he'd say thank you."
Fuxa said Anakin suffered from congenital degenerative disk disease, which was exacerbated by hi last apprehension. Anakin also suffered a herniated disk.
He also said K-9 Officer Michele James helped with Anakin's recovery by taking him, or picking him up, from rehab at OSU.
"The right thing to do with Anakin, at this point, is to retire him, and he’s pretty much at end of career age-wise," Chief Brian O'Rourke said. "Anakin started with Chase and he’ll end his career with Chase."
The Groom Closet's Jonie Ehrman and her son Michael Stone were also at Friday's retirement party for Anakin, They donated a dog food, treats, a special rehab sling and a new Kong toy for the outgoing shepherd.
O'Rourke thanked Ehrman for her and The Groom's Closet's dedication in helping the department's K-9 unit.
"They’ve always been real supportive of the K-9 program," he said. "They do a lot of things for the dogs. She really cares about our K-9s and we certainly appreciate it."