By Stacy Jacobsonsjacobson@abcnews4.com
HANAHAN, S.C. (WCIV) -- Hanahan K-9 officer Shadow died Tuesday night during a training mission, according to police officials. The Hanahan Police Department flew flags at half-staff to honor the dog.
"His name was Shadow and he lived up to it. He was always right there behind me," said Cpl. Travis Lanphere.
Lanphere said he lost a part of himself when Shadow died. Shadow served Hanahan Police since 2008.
Tuesday night, Shadow suddenly became unresponsive after a training exercise, Lanphere said. They rushed him to the vet, but nothing could be done. Shadow died from an apparent blood clot.
"When you spend countless hours at work training day in and day out with a partner that you rely on, it's devastating," Lanphere said.
One of his finest memories of Shadow is from 2009 when he got assaulted on a traffic stop. Lanphere said his car's system to remotely unlock the car doors was failing, so Shadow was stuck inside. But, during the incident, he took a second to look over at the car.
"I could see him through the windshield hitting this door to try to get it to activate and open up," he said.
He said that was Shadow's way: to stay close and keep him safe. Lanphere said he was going to take Shadow's remains home with him.
Chief of Police Michael Cochran said Shadow had a medical episode after a training session, which was held during the evening to avoid the heat of the day.
Chief Cochran said Shadow's body temperature was normal. The veterinarian conjectured Shadow died from a blood clot.
Police held a memorial service Tuesday morning. McAlister-Smith Funeral Home in Goose Creek is donating cremation services.
Shadow was originally donated to the department and has been a part of the Hanahan K-9 Unit since 2008. He worked with several agencies in many operations.
"During his time of service, he located a countless amount of narcotics and made multiple non-bite K-9 apprehensions," said Lt. Michael Fowler. "K-9 Shadow was a valued member of this department with several accomplishments to include obtaining the most difficult of available certifications through National Police Work Dog Association as a 'Utility' dog meaning he was certified in drug detection work in vehicles, buildings and luggage/parcels, agility, suspect detection and apprehension in vehicles, buildings, and area searches, suspect tracking over multiple types of terrain with cross-tracks, and obedience to name a few."
The certification was awarded to Shadow and his handler, Cpl. Lanphere, for four consecutive years.
Chief Cochran called the loss devastating and unexpected. He said losing a K-9 who spends thousands of hours with their handler in the field and at home is like losing a family member.