The Angels Camp Police Department (ACPD) is mourning the recent loss of their K9 comrade, an 11-year-old Dutch shepherd named Thor.
The retired police dog was laid to rest following a sudden illness that left him unable to walk, but not before he was taken on a last ride in a patrol car with his beloved partner and caretaker, ACPD Officer Jodi McDearmid.
“He always had my back, and I never guessed that he wouldn’t,” McDearmid said of her four-legged companion, who she worked with for two-and-a-half years and took care of in his retirement at her home in Angels Camp.
A public post from the ACPD stated, "He will be missed by all who knew him."
Thor had a personality that was well-balanced between work and play, McDearmid said. He was a “social butterfly” when greeting students, as McDearmid spent several years working as a school resource officer alongside the K9.
“Kids got to hug him and play with him. He gave a good impression of how police dogs can be,” she said.
But Thor was also a fierce working dog when it came to getting a job done. McDearmid remembers an occasion when the K9 sought out and apprehended thieves hiding among bushes “in the middle of nowhere” following a home invasion in Murphys. Another time, he located a violent runaway suspect underneath a truck in the ACPD parking lot and dragged him out to be arrested.
“He was definitely solid,” McDearmid said. “We always knew if we had some bad people we dealt with, he’d do his job well.”
Before joining the ACPD, Thor worked for the Stockton Police Department. When he moved to Angels Camp in 2016, he was paired with another officer until that officer left the department.
McDearmid, who joined ACPD six years ago, was a veterinarian technician and worked for animal control before becoming a police officer. She asked ACPD Chief Scott Ellis to allow her to become a K9 officer, which he eventually did, and she took over as Thor’s handler.
The two began their partnership with a 12-week-long training course and continued to train twice a month for the remainder of Thor’s career.
McDearmid now works with another K9, Valkyrie. Along with Ellis’ dog, Ryder, there are two remaining K9s who will continue to carry the torch at the ACPD.
It was McDearmid’s idea to take Thor for a drive around Angels Camp before his passing, she said, with permission from the chief.
In his final hours, she had taken Thor to be seen at the UC Davis Veterinary Hospital, where she was told nothing could be done, and it was recommended that the dog should be euthanized.
“I said, ‘Nope. He needs to go for a ride first,'” McDearmid recounted.
Although Thor could no longer walk, his mind was still sharp, and the K9 who loved his job seemed to enjoy being back on patrol, one last time.
“He had a great, great life. Better than most dogs,” McDearmid said.