Thousands of Wright County residents knew "Buck" as the playful dog ready to come out of Deputy Rob Mossman's cruiser ready to perform for the audience.
From K-9 demonstrations from D.A.R.E. graduations and community festivals, to actual field work, Buck was a "pro's pro," according to Sheriff Joe Hagerty, a St. Michael resident.
Buck died Good Friday, when he was trotting out of owner and handler Rob Mossman's yard to check out another dog walking through his rural neighborhood and did not see an oncoming car.
"Rob took him to immediately, and he had a broken hip and some other degenerative stuff in his spine, and probably some internal injuries, so we had to put him down," Hagerty said Monday, April 16. "It was very tough for us. We were set to retire Buck in about a year, and Robb would have had him and then either the new dog or our other K-9."
Buck, a German shepherd, had been in on countless arrests for the county, including several in the St. Michael-Albertville community. He was a little more than 10 years old.
Hagerty said Mossman will now handle Sabre, the county's 5-year-old German shepherd. Sabre had reported to Deputy Jeremy Wirkkula, who was recently promoted to sergeant.
"It's our policy that a sergeant shouldn't be a handler for a K-9. We need our sergeants to be in command of our other personnel. So we couldn't have Jeremy working Sabre down at Delano High School when there was a crash up in Otsego, for example. So this works out well for both Jeremy and Rob," Hagerty said.
The department has put in a request through St. Paul Police Dogs for a new K-9 and should have a new dog by next summer.
"Rob's going to be a busy guy for about a year here, until we get that other unit," Hagerty said.