Dog in training to replace retired Armstrong K-9 Officer Klif
A dog is in training and could be on the job by the end of summer to replace Armstrong County K-9 Officer Klif, who was forced into early retirement by disease in May.
The Region 13 Task Force, an emergency response group representing 13 southwestern counties, will pay for the $7,000 dog named Mibo — a 15-month-old German shepherd and Belgian malinois mix.
Klif's handler, Detective Mark Heider, is going through training with Mibo at the Pittsburgh Police's Canine Training Academy.
“It's bittersweet,” Heider said. “It's exciting to be with a new dog, but at the same time, it's very hard because I've got a dog that may be on his way out.”
Klif's final shift as a K-9 officer was Memorial Day. The 8-year-old German shepherd has been diagnosed with canine degenerative myelopathy, an incurable and progressively crippling condition similar to Lou Gehrig's disease in humans.
Heider began collecting donations to help with Klif's medical expenses in April. Since then, the public donated about $7,500.
“The outpouring was great. I'm still getting phone calls and donations,” Heider said. “It was surprising because I didn't realize Klif had this much of a following.”
And not all of Klif's followers came from Armstrong County, where he did his work sniffing out bombs and drugs. Tim Beachy, a Perryopolis resident and owner of A Breed Apart Clothing, designed and sold shirts with Klif's likeness on them and raised $875 for the cause.
“Once I heard about Klif's condition and realized they were working toward getting a new K-9, I was happy to help,” Beachy said. “I had a Great Dane named Gershwin who had the same disease, so I understand what Klif and Mark are going through.”
About $4,700 of donations — left after Klif's initial $2,800 medical bill was paid — will go toward training Mibo. Training and equipment for Mibo is expected to cost about $10,000.
“We've reached out to everyone who made donations, and they were all willing to let us use the money toward the new dog's expenses,” said Armstrong County District Attorney Scott Andreassi, whose office funds care and feeding of the K-9 officer.
His office will pay for any training costs for Mibo not covered by donations.
While the young dog is learning how to do his job, Klif is grudgingly settling into retirement, Heider said. The only treatment for Klif's disease is exercise, physical therapy and supplements.
“At first, Klif wasn't too thrilled with it, but he's accepting it a little bit more,” Heider said. “He still gets up with me every morning, but now he realizes he has to stay home with my family during the day.”
Brad Pedersen is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 724-543-1303, ext. 1337, or email@example.com.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Ford City officials mum about litigation related to grant default
- Fire sparks movement to stop vandalism in Ford City
- Avonmore man jailed on charges of stealing 3 cars Sunday
- Question Armstrong County candidates at forum in Manor
- Golf outing bolsters cancer patient fund at Kittanning hospital
- Family safe but dog dies in Sugarcreek trailer fire
- Armstrong gets 4th officer trained to spot drugged drivers
- Armstong students mesh art into STEM instruction
- Voters in Worthington, West Franklin to decide whether to allow alcohol sales