A beloved member of the NYPD passed away: Taz, a 90-pound German shepherd who was the last of the active K-9 dogs who helped search the World Trade Center site after the September 11 attacks, died from cardiac arrest on Sunday. He was nine years old.
According to City Room, Taz was almost 2 years old when he was assigned to search Ground Zero: "During the aftermath of the Sept. 11 attack, an average of eight dogs were on duty for each of two 12-hour shifts every day, according to the Police Department. The dogs typically worked 30 minutes at a time, then were given breaks."
Taz (yes, named after the Tasmanian Devil) worked with Officer Scott Ryan. The Daily News spoke to a "heartbroken" Ryan who said, "He was the best partner I ever had... He was easygoing. We liked to have fun, but when it came to work, we did what we had to do." Taz was ill last month but had recovered a bit; the News reports, "Doctors speculated he had lymphoma but cardiac arrest claimed him before he could have surgery.
And in a statement to City Room, Ryan said, "His passing is not just a loss to me, my family and fellow K-9 officers, but to the city that Taz and his K-9 comrades so proudly and courageously served... I will ride with my partner Taz for the last time, as I head to Hartsdale Pet Cemetery to bring his ashes home.”