Sgt. Todd Schmaltz (ret.) and Max
Retired OCSD K9 Maximus
What does retirement look like for a retired police canine? It started off with a form handed to me by then Canine Sgt Rob Gunzel transferring ownership of the asset for the County of Orange to me; his only handler in the United States. Maximus would reluctantly adjust to not getting to go to work everyday nor attend weekly canine training. When friends would stop by the house on duty, Max never forgot the trick of being able to open the back door to the patrol car and would get in the back seat and look intently as if to beg, “Please, just one more time!” I had the privilege of working with two great canines during my career with the Sheriff’s Department. After my first canine Jericho passed away suddenly, Investigative Assistant Susan Kindberg and her parents generously purchased Maximus.
Like most retired cops, it is with canines, very hard to get police work out of your blood. Max was always up for some impromptu obedience and bite work training at home. Last year on the day I had Max flown to our new home in Texas, I let him out in the front yard as I was getting something out of my car. I noticed Max looking in the direction of two people walking down our cul de sac. They were unaware we were outside. As they passed in front us, I noticed they were wearing gloves, had flashlights, and were carrying one of my neighbor’s laptop cases. It seemed like a good time to introduce to Max. They laid in the street waiting for the deputies to come and escort them out of our neighborhood. Max was an instant hit on our street!
Maximus continued loving being the center of attention and was always willing to assist in keeping the kitchen floors clean as my young children frequently donated to his cause. He was gentle interacting with visiting adults and children at our home. I was definitely the most fortunate of all who got to know him. He was a hardworking police dog, loyal companion, and became a great neighborhood and family dog.
This past weekend, I noticed Max had not finished his dinner which was extremely out of character, and he had trouble standing firmly on the floors in the kitchen that had become his favorite patrol area. I feared this might be signs of something serious, but took him to the Vet hoping it was something minor. Within an hour, testing revealed liver cancer. The Vet graciously gave our family time to say our “see you laters” to Max. When the time had come, I left the room momentarily, put on the bite sleeve, and walked back into the treatment room. Max instantly stood tall and firmly on the floor he earlier had trouble walking on, looked intently at the bite sleeve, and began wagging his tail continually. Max took hold of the sleeve and held on to it wagging his tail until he passed away!
On the form then Sgt Gunzel had given to me when Maximus was retired, it stated that I agreed to care for Max and provide a comfortable environment for the remainder of his life. Reporting back to y’all, mission accomplished! Thank you for entrusting Max to my care!
Sgt. Todd Schmaltz (ret.)
Like this post? Subscribe to my RSS feed and get loads more!