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Hero Down: Sansom Park Police K9 Lieutenant Dan Dies After Collapsing At Partner’s Feet

Sansom Park, TX – Sansom Park Police Department (SPPD) K9 Lieutenant Dan died on March 6 after a brief battle against cancer.

SPPD Officer Nathan Hagin, K9 Lt. Dan’s handler, said the Labrador retriever’s cancer diagnosis came just days before his sudden death, WFAA reported.

One week prior, he helped make a massive drug bust after conducting an open-air sniff on three separate vehicles, according to police.

Officers recovered methamphetamine and heroin in all three vehicles with a street value totaling nearly $8,000, the SPPD said in a press release.

Three suspects were arrested.

The department said the case was “unprecedented.”

Officer Hagin had no idea at the time that K9 Lt. Dan was suffering from cancer.

“When he made that bust, he was just eaten up with cancer and didn’t complain at all,” he told WFAA.

The diagnosis came just days later.

After getting the news, Officer Hagin took K9 Lt. Dan for a walk at his favorite park.

The next day, the duo took one last photo in uniform before the beloved K9 collapsed at his partner’s feet, WFAA reported.

“He looked up at me, took his last breath, and dropped down,” Officer Hagin said. “I did CPR on him for a little bit trying to bring him back, but was unsuccessful.”

“I’m not a crier, but this broke my heart,” he told WFAA. “I spent more time with him than with my actual family. It’s not just a dog, it means so much more.”

K9 Lt. Dan’s veterinarian at Clear Fork Veterinary Clinic said they believe a blood clot likely broke loose and stopped his heart, Officer Hagin said.

K9 Lt. Dan served with the Hood County Sheriff’s Office and the Parker County Sheriff’s Office prior to retiring from law enforcement, the Fort Worth Star-Telegram reported.

He came out of retirement in January to help establish the SPPD’s K9 unit, according to the news outlet.

Officer Hagin and K9 Lt. Dan worked side-by-side for 11 years, the SPPD said.

“It was a silent ride up here tonight,” Officer Hagin told WFAA shortly after his partner’s death. “Not hearing his tail bouncing around and him panting, thinking we’re going to work. I found myself talking to him in the back kennel and had to look back and realize he was not there.”

Our thoughts and prayers are with the Sansom Park Police Department and Officer Hagin in the loss of K9 Lt. Dan.

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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