By Molly Kirk/DWR
Photos by Meghan Marchetti/DWR
The DWR Conservation Police and Master CPO Richard Howald bid a sad farewell to K9 Scout on August 17. The yellow Labrador retriever was 13 years old and had been part of the three-dog K9 team that began DWR’s current K9 officer program in 2011.
“I worked with her from 2011 to 2018. She has been part of our family for 12 years. When we got her, my kids were going off to school, and they’re in high school now,” said Howald. “She was great at tracking and locating evidence. She located many missing kids and Alzheimer’s patients. It’s one thing to find a criminal, but when you can find missing people and help them, it’s even more rewarding.”
K9 Scout was diagnosed with cancer in her left hind leg in September 2017, and the leg was amputated a few weeks later. Scout recovered well and returned to her work for six months before retiring in the spring of 2018, which was her scheduled retirement date pre-amputation. Howald continues to work as a K9 officer with his new partner, K9 Sky.
“She was one of those dogs that worked hard when she was working, but you’d never know it just from meeting her. She was pretty laid-back; she took it easy until it was time to work,” Howald said of Scout, who took to retirement easily, enjoying her time with Howald’s family as a pet. “I’d still run her every once a while, have her find some articles, just to keep her happy and moving, but she mostly just hung out at our house.”
K9 Scout will be remembered fondly by DWR’s Conservation Police force and all of DWR as a dedicated public servant and protector of Virginia’s citizens and wildlife. She’ll be remembered by Master Officer Howald and his family as a reliable coworker and beloved companion. “These working dogs become part of the family,” Howald said.