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Hero Down: Merriam Woods Police Department K9 Zoey Succumbs To Multiple Medical Issues

Merriam Woods, MO – Merriam Woods Police Department (MWPD) K9 Zoey died on Oct. 28 due to complications caused by renal failure and an aggressive cancer.

The nearly 11-year-old Dutch Shepherd was diagnosed with renal failure earlier this year and was not expected to survive, but she “defied those odds and improved drastically and continued to serve the community of Merriam Woods and surrounding areas,” the MWPD said in a press release on Nov. 1.

K9 Zoey’s health took a turn for the worse the week of September 23, and she was transferred to the care of the University of Columbia’s medical staff, where she was stabilized.

She was then able to return home.

“Unfortunately, it was determined that K-9 Zoey was now in Stage 4/End stage of chronic kidney disease,” the MWPD said. “While home recovering, K-9 Zoey’s health quickly declined over a 24-hour period. The tough decision was made to humanely euthanize Zoey due to the severe decline in her quality of life.”

In addition to renal failure, doctors determined that a mass that had had been removed from K9 Zoey’s body earlier in the year had “returned as a very aggressive cancer,” the department said.

“Combined with her renal failure, it was just too much for our fighter,” the MWPD said. “Zoey was surrounded by those who loved her and in the arms of her partner of over 9 years, Chief [Nathan] Lewis, when she passed away peacefully.”

K9 Zoey, who was born on Christmas Day, 2011, was just two days away from being euthanized at a Texas animal shelter when she was chosen by a K9 organization to become a police K9 candidate, the MWPD said.

She and Chief Lewis were paired up in San Antonio, Texas for training on Oct. 14, 2013.

K9 Zoey was subsequently certified as a narcotic dog and later added tracking skills to her resume.

“K-9 Zoey began her career in law enforcement at the age of 2 years old in North St. Louis County and would eventually serve tours during the 2014 Ferguson Riots and subsequent civil uprisings around the St. Louis Metropolitan area in following years before relocating to the Springfield/Branson region with her handler in 2021 and helping start Merriam Woods’ first K-9 Unit,” the MWPD said.

The beloved K9 was deployed more than 500 times during her career.

She was involved in more than 300 vehicle searches and assisted with 176 arrests, numerous search warrants, more than $23,000 in seized funds, and “scores of evidence” recovery, the WMPD said.

“Zoey loved meeting members of the community along with making kids laugh and smile and the many pets, hugs and treats that often followed,” the department noted. “Zoey also possessed an unhealthy obsession with tennis balls.”

K9 Zoey, who was often referred to as a “miracle” dog, “personified what it is to defy all odds and excel in everything that you can do,” the MWPD said.

“K-9 Zoey helped pave the way for K-9 program of the Merriam Woods Police Department and will be/is sorely missed as she now leaves a lasting legacy,” the department added. “Chief Lewis is devastated by the loss of what he considers his partner, best friend and world but is thankful for the lives K-9 Zoey managed to impact and that the community gave her the opportunity to serve and protect them for over a year and a half.”

Our thoughts and prayers are with the Merriam Woods Police Department and Chief Lewis in the loss of K9 Zoey.

Written by
Holly Matkin

Holly is a former probation and parole officer who is married to a sheriff’s deputy. She is a regular contributor to Signature Montana magazine, and has written feature articles for Distinctly Montana magazine.

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Written by Holly Matkin


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