DETROIT (WWJ) – After a long and heroic career, a standout member of the Michigan State Police force is retiring.

Striker, a purebred German Shepherd born in Hungry, followed his nose on the job as specialist in explosive detection for seven years.

That might not seem like long to a person, but for a dog in the Metro Post K-9 unit, Striker’s handler, trooper Dawn Zonca says it’s a lifetime.

“It’s always bittersweet when you retire your partner,” Zonca told WWJ Newsradio 950’s Laura Bonnell. “I mean, he’s your buddy, your best friend, and he rides in the patrol car with you at all times.”

Striker worked Superbowl XL, a couple of World Series games, the MLB All State Game, Tigers, Red Wings and Pistons playoff games and Detroit Lions home games. Striker also assisted at air shows and protected visiting dignitaries, including the President of the United States.

State police say he tracked several suspects, located lost persons, and found several firearms that were used in criminal activity. On the public relations front, Striker visited schools, churches and Boy and Girl Scout meetings.

Zonca said Striker is clearly enjoying his retirement — now living indoors at her home with her family and three other dogs.

“Well, I think he very much enjoys being inside. He definitely sleeps a lot more, he gets a lot more attention and I lot of rubbing, and a lot of pets,” she said.

Striker was recently honored with a proclamation from the Auburn Hills City Council for his dedication to the residents of Auburn Hills.


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