SAUGUS — Bruin, a 9-year-old German shepherd, and Officer Timothy Fawcett patrolled the streets of Saugus countless times over the past eight years. On Thursday, the pair went on their final ride together.
After Bruin was diagnosed with terminal cancer a few weeks ago, Fawcett decided to give him a peaceful death Thursday.
The Saugus Police Patrol Officers Union and the Saugus Police Department organized an hourlong procession of approximately 30 police cruisers that started around 11:30 a.m. as well as a salute by local K-9 officers to honor Bruin’s service to the community. At the procession’s end, officers with K-9s lined up and saluted Fawcett as he dropped off Bruin at Wakefield Animal Hospital.
State Police troopers along with officers from local departments including Chelsea, Everett, and Revere, came to show solidarity with Fawcett and Bruin.
Flanked by officers in a solemn salute, Fawcett brought Bruin into the hospital. He reemerged after about 10 minutes, with his family and fellow officers at his side, and delivered a statement to the press.
“He fought till the end, I’ll say that. He was a tough dog,” Fawcett said tearfully. “It was the tough thing to do; I didn’t want him to suffer.”
Bruin was selected as a K-9 dog when he was 16 months old. Once Bruin completed training, he moved to Fawcett’s home and quickly earned his place as a member of the family.
Interim Chief Ronald Giorgetti of the Saugus Police Department remembered Bruin and Fawcett as a team that helped bridge the gap between Saugus and neighboring communities and made more than 100 visits at schools and nonprofits over the course of the dog’s career.
“He was always approachable,” Giorgetti said. “It kind of portrayed the officers in the department to the kids in a different light as opposed to seeing someone in a uniform and a badge, which at times can be intimidating for kids.”
Officer Domenic Montano, the community events coordinator for the Saugus Police Patrol Officers Union, organized the procession through the union’s Facebook page. Thousands of people expressed condolences over the loss of Bruin.
“Overall, it’s just heartwarming how many different people showed up to show their support and love for K-9 Bruin,” Montano said. “It really is a wonderful tribute to a dog who protected someone for nine years, someone who was one of our brothers.”
Patricia Rogers, a Wakefield resident, said when she heard the news she felt compelled to come and pay respects.
“The bond that’s shared between the handler and that K-9 is incredibly deep,” Rogers said. “I feel like we owe them that respect of caring about their grief and thanking them for their service.”
A memorial service is being planned for next week.
A little after 1 p.m., onlookers dispersed, allowing Saugus officers a private moment in which they offered Fawcett hugs.
“Look at this outpouring of love from the departments and the community,” Fawcett said. “I can never repay you.”Annika Hom can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her on Twitter at @AnnikaHom.