With his family by his side, New Castle County Police canine “Nike,” will be put to sleep later this afternoon, leaving behind a job and family he’s known and loved for the majority of his life.
The 13-year-old German Shepherd served with his partner, Senior Corporal Mark Tobin for over a decade. In Nike’s heyday, New Castle County Police say the team is responsible for 161 apprehensions ranging from burglaries to murder, and helped seize more than $2 million in drugs and cash.
“He had just a phenomenal tracking ability to go and locate people,” said Sr. Cpl. Tobin.
Retired three years ago, the lovable, long-haired shepherd’s hips have completely given out. Tobin says Nike also has tumors in the back part of his hips that keep the 70 pound dog from walking on his own.
“Right now we carry him from room to room, and it’s just unfair, that quality of living for the amount of work he’s done for everyone. I just think it’s time for him to deserve his final rest,” Tobin said.
“We’ve been sad, you know, for a couple days now – knowing, preparing, but you’re never prepared for this,” wife Erin said.
A tough decision on everyone, especially for Sr. Cpl. Tobin’s 11-year-old son Kevin. Tobin says Nike moved in the same day Kevin came home from the hospital as a newborn.
“He’s been a part of my life throughout every stage of everything,” Kevin said tearfully. “He’s kind of like my brother, but he’s a dog, and I just hate to see him in pain.”
“No one could ever replace Nike,” said 15-year-old Shannon, Sr. Cpl. Tobin’s daughter.
Sr. Cpl. Tobin’s partner is now another German Shepherd named “Chaos.” Tobin describes the 3-year-old as a “spazz,” with four big shoes to fill.
“All of us who have second dogs, or get another dog, we always say, ‘Aww, it’s nothing like the first dog,’ and I think it’s like everybody else that gets their second dog; but what we forget is the time it took us to evolve the dog to where he is.”
And in Nike’s case, it was a 10-year partnership and 13-year relationship for the Tobin’s that makes saying good-bye all the more difficult.