By elaine van develde
By elaine van develde
TINTON FALLS — On the heels of one tragic loss, there was a gain.
A few weeks after K-9 officer Ty died suddenly, a new police dog arrived in the borough and is just about ready to be sworn in.
When Ty died in mid-June, his human partner, Patrolman Gerald Turning Jr.. was devastated. The loss deeply saddened the police department and community.
The affable, dutiful black German shepherd at only 5 years of age was in the prime of his career as an officer of the law when he was unknowingly struck with bloat. The illness, which occurs in large-chested dogs, caused Ty’s stomach to overturn, killing him without warning. Turning was devastated. So were his and the dog’s colleagues in the police department.
The sadness, though, did not stop the K-9 program from continuing. "It’s a tragic loss that we’ll feel for a long time," said Turning’s father, Maj. Gerald Turning, who heads the police department. "Ty was not only a great officer, but a family member. Despite that sadness that we’ll carry with us, the program will continue."
In addition to the department’s current K-9 in training, Shayne, a 19-month-old fur ball named Rudy by Turning Jr. has arrived from California late last month and will complete his K-9 officer training by mid-August.
Rudy is a Belgian malamute, a smaller, fluffier breed which looks similar to a German shepherd, but "because he is smaller, will tend to be fast," Turning Sr. said.
Rudy, Turning Sr. said, was named after the fact-based movie Rudy which was a favorite of his son’s. The movie’s title character, Rudy Ruettiger, is a wannabe undersized football player at the University of Notre Dame who never gets off the bench until the last play of his senior season, but is much admired by his teammates for his hardwork and perseverance.
In that final play Rudy sacks the Georgia Tech quarterback and is carried off the field by his teammates.
Turning Jr. saw the movie as a triumphant tale and the name as a winning one, his father said. So, Rudy Ruettiger’s K-9 namesake will now replace Ty as Turning Jr.’s partner.
"It’s hard to get over that kind of loss," Turning Sr. said, "but this little guy (Rudy) is definitely a help. He’s adorable, and he’s going to make a great police officer and partner. We still all mourn Ty. You just don’t forget a public servant and a family member. We’re happy for the addition to our K-9 unit, and we will go on."
Rudy was purchased with funds from the county’s Law Enforcement Trust Fund — money accumulated from seized items involved in crimes. He cost about $4,000.
The new K-9-in-training will make his first public appearance at the borough police department’s Night Out Aug. 2 at Monmouth Regional High School on Tinton Avenue.