The first four recipients of the AKC Paw of Courage award are remembered for their extreme bravery and sacrifices while in the line of duty.
Dogs have been valuable members of the police force for years, and the American Kennel Club has recently decided to recognize the achievements and sacrifices of these working canines. The AKC Paw of Courage award was created to honor dogs that have made "significant sacrifices in the line of duty."
K9s Ogar, Jag, Krijger, and Betcha became the first recipients of the AKC Paw of Courage award on May 23.
K9 Ogar was a one-year-old Belgian Malinois that worked for the Smith County Constable's office in Texas. Ogar was pursuing a suspect that fled from a routine traffic stop when he was shot and killed. Ogar's handler, Deputy Constable Petty said:
"Ogar sacrificed his life to save mine."
Ogar is one of the first recipients of the AKC Paw of Courage award for his unfailing bravery in the line of duty.
K9 Jag, an eight-year-old Belgian Malinois, served with the Twin Rivers Unified School District Police Department for five years before he was struck by a vehicle and killed during an annual state certification.
Jag was the first ever canine to hold his post and had a long, successful career. He was responsible for hundreds of narcotics searches, over 50 suspect surrenders, and three suspect apprehensions.
Jag is missed by the entire Twin Rivers community, but his service is not forgotten.
K9 Krijger was a four-year-old Belgian Malinois that worked for the Norfolk Police Department in Virginia. In January 2016, Norfolk police officers responded to a domestic violence call that turned into a dangerous hostage situation.
When the suspect exited his home several hours later, he opened fire on the officers, and Krijger was fatally wounded. Krijger's handler, Officer McNiff said:
"Krijger taught me many things about courage, honor, loyalty, and friendship."
Krijger made the ultimate sacrifice to protect his fellow officers.
K9 Betcha, a two-year-old Australian Cattle Dog, was a valued member of the narcotics/tracking team at the Rutland County Sheriff's Office.
He was struck by a car and killed while in the line of duty. For Betcha's handler, Deputy Sheriff Edward Hunter, Betcha was a partner, friend, and form of therapy.
Betcha helped his partner cope with his 35 years of police service, and he is missed by both his off-duty and on-duty family.
All four of these dogs represent the incredible strength, dedication, and courage that is required of all working canines. As the first recipients of the AKC Paw of Courage award, they will forever be remembered for their achievements and sacrifices.
All working dogs are eligible to receive the AKC Paw of Courage Award, and the award specifically recognizes canines that were severely injured or killed while performing their duty. Recipients receive an AKC Paw of Courage medal, certificate, and are featured on AKC.