Pierce County retires K9 after terminal cancer diagnosis

PIERCE COUNTY, Wash -- K9 Diego will not be returning to work. The Pierce County Sheriff's department said Diego was diagnosed with terminal and untreatable cancer inside of his heart in mid-July, but stayed on the job until Sept. 9 when he was officially retired.

The 9-year-old black Labrador began his career with the department on April 9, 2009, after graduating from the Auburn University Canine Detection and Training Center.

Diego was born into a bomb dog program and, from birth, his training was focused on transforming him into an Explosive Detection K9.

Diego and his handler, Deputy Bill Hultman, were the first civilian law enforcement team to complete the Boeing K9 Unit’s 400-hour training program. They also have a certification from the Criminal Justice Training Center.

During Diego’s career, he conducted the following:

                          Diego was also a favorite with children. He performed many K9 demonstrations at the Puyallup Fair, various schools, and JBLM, where every year he was requested to attend their annual pet shows.

                          Citizens who would like to support Diego and our K9 program can donate to our GoFundMe Campaign: K9 Diego Honorary Fund.