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Police officers form a line to salute a K9 with terminal cancer during her last walkout

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In Virginia Beach, a story unfolded that touched the hearts of many, especially those in the law enforcement community. A German Shepherd named Candy, who had been an integral part of the Virginia Beach Sheriff’s Office, received a heartfelt and dignified farewell as she completed her final duty.

Candy, who joined the force in 2014, was not just a police dog but a cherished member of the team. Over her nearly decade-long career, she played a crucial role in narcotics detection, performing over 2,900 operational searches. Her efforts led to the seizure of 278 pounds of illegal narcotics, marking her as an invaluable asset to the department.

Her bond with Master Deputy II Anthony “Tony” Natalzia was more than just that of a handler and a K9. Natalzia saw her as a constant companion, stating, “She went everywhere with me. You see these dogs more than you see your family.” This deep connection made what followed even more heartrending.

At the age of 11, Candy began to show signs of slowing down. A routine vet visit brought devastating news: Candy had cancer, and it had spread throughout her body. Natalzia was faced with the difficult decision to euthanize her to spare her from further suffering.

Police K9 diagnosed with cancer gets saluted by her entire team in her final walkout 🐕🚨
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In honor of her service, the Virginia Beach Sheriff’s Office organized a ceremonial final walkout for Candy. Officers lined the halls of the Virginia Beach Correctional Center, saluting Candy as she made her way through the corridor for the last time. The scene was emotional, with many officers visibly moved as they bid farewell to their four-legged colleague.

Candy, with her favorite tennis ball in tow, was then taken by Natalzia to the vet, where she was peacefully put to rest. The plan had been for Candy to enjoy a well-earned retirement, but sadly, this was not to be. Natalzia expressed his sense of loss, saying, “You think you’re going to have some time with your dog after they retire so I feel cheated on that end of it but as a responsible handler there was no way I could let her suffer to be selfish.”

As Natalzia mourns Candy, he also prepares to build a new partnership with another K9, Pablo, hoping to forge a bond as strong as the one he had with Candy.

Candy’s story is a reminder of the incredible dedication and service of police dogs and the profound bonds they form with their handlers. Her legacy will live on in the memories of those who worked alongside her and in the hearts of all who are moved by her story. Rest in peace, Candy. Please share this story to honor the memory of this remarkable K9 hero.