Handler: Officer Tony Fernandez
Avondale Police Department
11485 W. Civic Center Dr.
85003 PH: (602) 876-0322
Retired Avondale police dog dies
Avondale police said the canine officer had been with the department since January 2004.
The Avondale Police Department's oldest K-9, who was honored last week during a retirement ceremony, has died.
Doerak, a 10-year-old Belgian Malinois, had to be put down suddenly on the morning after the Jan. 26 ceremony because the dog's valley fever had spread too much, said Officer Tony Fernandez, Doerak's handler.
The dog, who also had arthritis, had been on multiple medications.
was looking good on Wednesday and he
had a vet appointment on Thursday and apparently the valley fever was really bad into his
told The Republic Wednesday.
was in a lot of pain and would continue to be in a lot of pain. . . . So the quality of life for him would have been not good at all.
Doerak had beaten valley fever a few years ago, but it came back in the last six months, Fernandez
stayed with Doerak while the veterinarian put him down.
"It was kind of rough for me, especially when they took the collar off and handed it to me," he
"You walk in with your partner, then you walk out with just a collar.
That was the hardest part."
said Doerak was a "tough dog.
Doerak joined the Avondale Police Department
in January 2004.
Over the years, he
earned certification in narcotics and patrol, drug detection, SWAT interaction, urban tracking and officer survival.
placed in the top three in team and individual events at the Desert Dogs K-9 trials in 2005, 2007 and 2010.
also played a key role in several investigations, including a drug seizure that netted $100,000.
Doerak was taken out of service in August once the department purchased Ranger, a 3-year-old Belgian Malinois, to replace him and Fernandez
began training with the new dog, police spokesman Reuben Gonzales said.
Doerak officially retired last week.
had a good career," Fernandez
"I think he
did what he
enjoyed doing and he
was really good at it.
"Doerak will be missed by his
police family at the Avondale Police Department
immediate family, the Fernandez family, who cared for him during his
seven years as a certified police K-9," Gonzales said in a statement released Wednesday.
Doerak had lived with Fernandez
wife, 16-year-old daughter, and 10- and 12-year-old sons.
paid the department $1 for the dog and signed a waiver releasing all liability.
family will remember Doerak for "his
eyes" and the "way he
liked to play around.
The dog often gnawed on Fernandez's
boot while lying next to him, played ball in the backyard with his
sons, and did tricks with his
"The hardest part is you keep on looking outside at the kennel thinking he
'd be there because every day for the last seven years he's
always been out there," he said.