A police department in Georgia is mourning the loss of one of its K-9 officers after the German Shepard died of apparent heat exhaustion.
Eli died on Thursday while tracking a suspect. WAAY 31 spent time Friday with a K-9 deputy to find out how they beat the heat and stay healthy.
For 6 years, Knox has been living and working with Corporal Charles Porter with the Morgan County Sheriff's Office. Knox is a patrol dog and his workday involves searching for drugs, stolen items or even suspects. In the summer, the job gets even more dangerous because of the heat.
"It is one of the biggest concerns among all the other stuff we have to worry about," said Porter.
After years of working together, the two are in sync and Porter says that's a big factor in keeping Knox safe and healthy.
"With him, the way he starts walking, the way he starts breathing, the way he starts panting, it's just working with your dog and getting to know your dog," said Porter.
Porter says it's especially a concern with German Shepards.
"His winter coat takes forever to get off of him. I've brushed him every day and you can't even tell I've brushed him," said Porter.
He says when it comes down to it, their K-9s are well-trained and ready to work. That can mean they won't take a minute for a water break, so it's up to the handler to pay attention.
"When it gets to that point you have to make them stop working a lot of the time to get them back to a cooler place," said Porter.
Porter's SUV also has a heat sensor, so when it gets over 80 degrees inside, the back windows roll down, the lights come on and Porter is paged.