Shenandoah County, VA – Virginia State Police (VSP) K9 Duke died in the line of duty on Aug. 30 after suffering heatstroke while tracking a suspect.
K9 Duke and his human partner, VSP Senior Trooper J.R, Lewis, responded to a location in Shenandoah County on Aug. 29 to help search for suspects involved in a hit-and-run crash, the Fauquier County Sheriff’s Office (FCSO) said in a Facebook post.
During the track, K9 Duke became overheated due to the extreme heat and humidity.
“Trooper Lewis recognized that K-9 Duke was not his normal self and took him to the emergency vet,” the FCSO said. “K-9 Duke was admitted in serious condition and received fluids and blood transfusions overnight.”
The five-year-old German shepherd succumbed to his medical issues the following day.
“We are saddened to report that, despite his handler’s quick action and the efforts of the emergency vet staff, K-9 Duke was not able to recover from his illness,” the FCSO said in an update. “K-9 Duke crossed the rainbow bridge tonight, with Trooper Lewis and his family by his side.”
The beloved K9 was given “a hero’s escort” by multiple VSP K9 teams and various other K9 teams from jurisdictions across Virginia.
“Rest easy, Duke. We have the watch from here,” the FCSO said.
K9 Duke joined the VSP at the age of eight months, the VSP said in a Facebook post on Aug. 31.
“[He] was a beloved member of the Culpeper Division Area 12/Warrenton Office and was greatly respected for his support of and service to the Culpeper Division Tactical Team and entire Culpeper Division,” the VSP said.
The Virginia State Police and the Lewis family are mourning the loss of one of one their own, three year old K9 Duke. Duke passed away yesterday with Trooper Lewis by his side at the veterinary office where he was being treated for a heat injury sustained pic.twitter.com/Ouu6CLxBug
— ALPHA PRO (@DTMsport) August 31, 2021
1/2 As #VSP K9 Duke is being treated for heat exhaustion sustained during an intense suspect search in #Shenandoah Co on 8/28, prayers & well wishes are pouring in for him from his buddies all over #Virginia.🐾#StayStrong #ValorServicePride pic.twitter.com/Cl9d5Pf72D
— VA State Police (@VSPPIO) August 30, 2021
Our thoughts and prayers are with the Virginia State Police and Senior Trooper Lewis in the loss of K9 Duke.