The Orange Police Department hosted a small memorial service for K-9 Major who died tragically in the line of duty in the early morning hours of July 19.
More than a dozen police K-9s and their handlers from surrounding police departments, police officers, a handful of town employees, former Asst. Chief Ed Koether (one of the department’s original K-9 handlers), the Rev. Ann Ritonia, and a couple of invited guests attended the outdoor service under sunny skies.
Major’s partner Officer Christopher Brown, received a plaque from Chris Wheatman of the American Kennel Club —Trap Falls Kennel Club with a brass plate and a photo of Brown and Major.
Speakers included Detective Michael Kosh, who addressed the crowd accompanied by his retired K-9 Maximus.
Officer Kosh said, “There’s a special bond between you and your K-9 partner. From the moment you select your partner it starts, whether you realize it or not. I saw this in officer Brown and Major. … In the end, it was always about the dog.”
He read the poem “Guardians of the Night,” stating that he believes it fits the handler and his partner.
Brown choked up as he spoke briefly about his partner’s short life and their time together.
Chief Robert Gagne also choked as he paid tribute to the dog, reading a poem “Grieve Not For Me“, and concluding with a sincere “Good Boy, Major.”
The Rev. Ann Ritonia blessed the area in front of the police department where a dogwood tree provides shade over a polished black granite stone bearing Major’s image and the inscription “Major, July 28-2012 — July 19, 2014 LODD (Line of Duty Death). His ashes are buried there.
Highway Department Employee Steve Cifarelli donated the stone which was engraved by the father of one of the Orange policemen.
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