K-9 Urzo is a retired German Shepherd who formerly worked for the Bernalillo County Police Department in Albuquerque, New Mexico. He specialized in patrol and explosives, providing support for field and SWAT operations. He also often worked for special events, such as political campaigns and sporting events at the University of New Mexico. K-9 Urzo and his handler, Officer Kevin Sheldahl, had a reputation of success—Sheldahl explains that the two were known for “one deployment, one capture.”
After serving five years for the department, Urzo retired at seven years old, due to both his handler’s retirement and growing back problems. He now lives in Sheldahl’s home and gets along well with the family. Sheldahl explains, “his favorite time is meal time, but we only feed him once a day—he gets fat otherwise!”
Despite Urzo’s advanced age and back issues, he still goes on walks with Officer Sheldahl multiple times per day. With 21 years of experience handling K-9s, Sheldahl explained that it’s important for anyone considering adopting a retired working dog to consider their physical expectations. He explains, “they’re basically athletes, so treat them well—they’re used to being active.”
Sheldahl describes the funds he receives from the K-9 Courage Program by Zoetis as very helpful, and primarily uses these funds to subsidize the costs of Urzo’s pain medication. Additionally, Sheldahl uses the funds for his veterinary care and teeth cleaning.
To learn more about the K-9 Courage Program from Zoetis, please click on the link: www.k-9courage.com
UPDATE: Unfortunately after the writing of this article, Urzo passed away. The National Police Dog Foundation still wanted to honor Urzo for his service, and give thanks to the K-9 Courage Program by Zoetis, from which Urzo has benefitted these last six years in retirement.