Mishka, a retired K-9 officer, recently passed away this year, but her heroic life will never be forgotten, especially to Sergeant Richard Marsh.
The Burlington Sergeant remembers the day he first met Mishka. A day so vivid, he struggles to put into words. But Marsh had to choose between Mishka, a 60-pound German shepherd, and a larger 100-pound male dog. It was an easy choice: the 100-pound male dog. He thought the larger dog would be stronger and offer more protection.
“We wanted a bigger dog, and she was not the bigger dog,” Marsh told The Times News.
It all came down to a test. Marsh went outside, threw a metal pipe, and gave each dog a chance to find it. After just only 10 minutes, the 100-pound dog gave up. However, Mishka was determined to find it.
“She stayed out there for 45 minutes until she found it, and we said, ‘That’s the dog we need,’” Marsh remembers.
Mishka had been in over 710 incidences and responsible for 218 misdemeanors and 103 felonies. She has been in situations where she has sniffed out drugs and tracked down convicted felons. Additionally, she has helped make 154 arrests, two of which she restrained by biting or holding down the convict.
Mishka and Marsh have been partners for over 10 years. During that time, Mishka has saved his life, not once, but twice.
The first time was when the duo was responding to a shooting on Maple Avenue. When Marsh and Mishka exited the patrol car, Mishka darted after the man. Evidently, the shooter was waiting behind a corner — gun in hand — ready to kill Marsh. Before Marsh got to the suspect, Mishka was already there apprehending the shooter. The man threw his gun under an apartment porch right as Mishka barreled over him.
The second time was just a couple years into their partnership. One night, after a car chase, the driver attacked Marsh.
“He was getting the best of me, to be honest,” Marsh recalled.
Fortunately, some police cars have a "bailout" button to release their K-9 partner in case of an emergency. When the doors opened, Mishka bolted and took out the driver allowing Marsh to arrest the criminal.
As age and the job took its toll on Mishka, she was experiencing pain. Mishka had cancer.
After just a few years into her career, Mishka had a lump on her left side, between her skin and muscle. The veterinarian determined that the tumor was in fact cancerous. Thankfully, the veterinarian was able to remove it.
Over the years, Mishka developed arthritis which was causing her pain. During workouts and other exercises, Marsh said that she would begin "hollering." In 2012, Marsh decided that it was time for Mishka to retire.
It wasn't until May 2016, when a veterinarian discovered another cancerous tumor. Before they began treating the cancer, they discovered that the treatment could have actually caused more harm than good. So Marsh decided to make a bucket list for Mishka, which included delicious meals and wonderful experiences.
Marsh said that his two favorite bucket list experiences were eating McDonald's french fries and cheeseburgers and spending time at Kure Beach.
“She was a great dog,” Marsh said. “I couldn’t ask for a better partner.”
What do you think about Mishka's story? Share your thoughts with us on our Facebook page! In related news, a police officer was ambushed by three men. It wasn't until he pressed a button to release the reign of terror, his K-9 partner, that he was saved! Do you think this dog is a hero? Check out the article here!