He protected his community for nearly seven years, and now a heroic dog is being remembered for his dedicated service.
K9 Cygan, a retired member of the Clay County Police Department, made a name for himself on the force. With his tracking, drug detection and recovery skills, he found missing persons, hunted down criminals and sheltered law enforcement from danger in the line of duty.
His patrol partner and longtime friend, Detective Matt Lowery, shares his story.
Davi: Tell me about Cygan.
Detective Lowery: Cygan was a German Shepherd/Dutch Shepherd mix from Poland. He joined the agency in 2009, and we worked together until 2016 when Cygan retired due to spinal issues. He always loved riding in the car, working the night shift to secure schools and parks, and played fetch on his off days.
What about Cygan would surprise us?
He had a mischievous side and would often bump open the sliding gate on the car kennel and steal the plastic straw from my drink, and then disappear to the back and chew it!
Tell us an exciting incident you and Cygan experienced in your work.
One that may not be exciting but was certainly meaningful was an incident that involved a suicidal person. The subject left behind a written goodbye before setting out into the woods near his home. His child discovered the note a few hours later and contacted the Sheriff’s Office. Cygan and I responded to the scene and he began tracking through the forest where he soon located the person lying in the bushes. We carried him back, sought medical attention, and reunited him with his family. Because of Cygan, this person was rescued from a dark time that could have claimed his life.
Was Cygan ever scared of doing his job?
At first, he seemed to lack confidence, but as he developed his skills and matured, he became fearless. Except for thunderstorms—he was not a fan of thunderstorms.
What was Cygan’s typical workday like?
There were no typical days. Cygan would go from a leisurely walk around a school campus to conducting a narcotics sniff to tracking a suspect through a nasty Florida swamp all in a matter of minutes.
Did he adapt well to civilian life?
Indeed! At first, he still wanted to go to work but, eventually, he was happy just hanging out with the family and lounging in the backyard. He also gained a little weight like most retired men do—HA!
What retirement activities did he enjoy?
Cygan always loved playing fetch. It was very rare to see him without a ball.
In one word, describe your partner.
If I had to pick one word, it would be “friend.” He was a good, friendly dog who made a big impact on the community.
As dogs go, those in the K9 service are considered the bravest of the brave. Wednesday, March 13, is National K9 Veterans Day, honoring all working dogs risking life and paw to protect our community and our country.
Davi the Dachshund is always grateful for the skills and devotion of his K9 pals..