From our friends at the Kent Police Department comes this touching tribute to one of their own – Kato the K9, who passed away from a ruptured tumor that took his 9th life at the age of 9.5 early this month.

RIP Kato

Kato served with the Kent Police from 2012 to 2017. People always ask cops what their craziest story is. Kato had many. Early in his career, he was stabbed by a felon in Des Moines. A few weeks later, he made a full recovery and was back serving on the streets. He and his handler were called in when a suspect assaulted another officer and fled on foot, pulling a gun as he did so. Kato located the suspect, effectively tipping off the officers to the suspect’s hiding location. What resulted was a prolific shootout, when the suspect opened fire on the officers. The gunfire was halted by a propane tank explosion. What was a seemingly unrealistic event was dwarfed by how unrealistic Kato’s survival was. His handler joked that he had “9 lives.” Many more close calls studded his career. In the end, it was a ruptured tumor that took his 9th life at the age of 9.5 early this month.

What was never in the news was how gentle Kato was outside of work. He did regular visits at elementary schools and would let a crowd of kids swarm him with affection. He enjoyed nearly two years of retirement with his handler’s family. His family is thankful for his unrelenting loyalty, guardianship and devotion. Not just to them, but his Kent Police family and the community as a whole that he served so readily.