Henderson, NV – Henderson Police Department (HPD) K9 Winston died unexpectedly from an acute medical condition on Oct. 20, according to his department.
K9 Winston, an Irish-born, three-year-old Springer Spaniel, joined HPD in November of 2017, the department said in a Facebook post.
“Winston passed away after an unexpected and sudden medical condition at his home surrounded by family and with the HPD K-9 Unit by his side,” the HPD said.
K9 Winston’s handler, Henderson Police Officer Matt Doleshal, discussed the narcotics K9’s skills during an interview with KSNV in 2018.
The duo completed their narcotics detection certifications in March of 2018, the department said in a celebratory post at the time.
Above all, K9 Winston’s favorite activity involved doing anything he could to be rewarded with his favorite ball.
“Three odors in his life will earn him this ball – methamphetamine, heroin, and cocaine,” Officer Doleshal explained during the KSNV interview. “This is the highlight of [his] day. He’s like, ‘oh man! I got my ball!’”
Henderson Police Officer Chris Landis noted that K9 Winston’s keen sense of smell enabled him to break down odors that humans could never pick up on.
“We sometimes describe and liken it to when you drive by In-N-Out [Burger],” Landis told KSNV. “You can smell the hamburger, and they're able to separate. That's bun. That's meat. That's salt, That's pepper. That's the onion.”
It was a job K9 Winston did well.
“During his short tenure, Winston located over 53 pounds of methamphetamine,” the HPD’s Facebook post read.
He also enjoyed meeting local citizens at various community events.
“He will forever be honored for his service and loving heart,” the department said. “Rest easy hero, we have it from here!”
Our thoughts and prayers are with the Henderson Police Department and Officer Doleshal in the loss of K9 Winston.