You may not know this, but the METRO Police Department has its own K-9 unit, German Shepherd and Belgian Malinois dogs who are trained to search for explosives or illegal drugs. They are a valuable part of MPD – and a few months ago, METRO lost one of its four-footed officers.
For five years, K-9 Aimy faithfully served METRO as a patrol explosives dog. She was so good at her job as a search dog, she would search President George H. Bush's car when his security detail had his car worked on.
The four-footed officer died on Dec. 20 after a sudden on-set of liver failure. She was 7.5 years old.
"She was a good dog," said her handler Off. Ted Armstrong, who got the Belgian Malinois when she was two years old and helped complete her training. "She was quiet. I told everybody she was a silent killer. She never barked. She minded her own business, was easy-going, didn't let things bother her."
Aimy was trained to search for explosives, and her reputation soon reached the ears of the rich and famous. On several occasions, the Secret Service detail would request Aimy to search Bush's car, as well as First Lady Barbara Bush's car, after their cars were worked on.
When former Congresswoman Gabby Giffords, married to now retired NASA astronaut Mark Kelly, would fly back and forth between her homes in Arizona and Texas, K-9 Aimy would be requested to search Giffords' Houston-area home before her arrival.
The four-footed officer searched NRG Stadium before the Super Bowl in 2017 and Minute Maid Park before the World Series game last fall.
If a dog is man's best friend, that bond is even tighter when the dog works with you all day on the job, and then goes home at night with you. "I think she loved me more than my wife did," said Armstrong, chuckling. Armstrong said the bond was so strong that when his wife would ask Aimy to do something, the dog would first look at Armstrong for permission.
He spoke Czech to her, giving her six different commands in a language few would understand in Houston. Canine police dogs are trained in foreign languages so they respond only to their handler and not to strangers.
"She was ball-crazy. When we were at home, she'd try to drop the ball into the swimming pool so she could jump into the pool to retrieve it. She liked to swim, but my filters didn't like all the dog hair," recalled Armstrong.
Although fierce when it came to tracking explosives and going after suspects when needed, Aimy was a social dog, who often did demonstrations for Boy Scouts and school groups. "Everybody could pet her," said Armstrong.
In her final days, Aimy worked the streets on Sunday and Monday. On Tuesday, she was lethargic and could barely stand up, and Armstrong took her to the vet. Hours later, at 3:15 a.m. on Wednesday, she died.
"It's a hard loss," said Armstrong. "You spend more time with the dog than your own spouse. It's the best partnership you can have. I like the guys I work with, but that dog was the best partner."
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