Former K9 officer laid to rest

SHELBY COUNTY, TN (WMC) - A former Shelby County K9 deputy was laid to rest Friday.

Eros, a German Shepherd born in Slovakia in 2011, served with Shelby County Sheriff's Office since September 2012 before retiring with his former partner.

While working as a K9, he tracked down criminals, helped find missing children and elderly, and sniffed down drugs.

Eros died Monday after he was unable to survive an emergency surgery for a medical issue.

"We are here to celebrate Eros and all that he has done for this community and my family," Sgt. Mark Wagner said.

It was a day to mourn a passed partner for Wagner--his 7-year-old patrol dog Eros died earlier this week in a veterinary emergency when his stomach flipped.

"I'm in a weird place right now. I have so many emotions and so many feelings," Wagner said.

K-9 officers from across the Mid-South filled Dixie Memorial Pet Gardens in Millington on Friday afternoon in a standing-room-only ceremony.

"In 2011 I was diagnosed with testicular cancer, and it was in advanced stages. It liked to kill me," Wagner said.

Wagner joined the canine unit when he came back from medical leave.

He was promoted to sergeant in 2017, and the department allowed Eros to retire because of the dog's tight bond with Wagner, his wife, and their three children.

He credits Eros with helping him get back to work after his cancer fight and being tough at patrol but also friendly and loving.

"I spent four months training him from sun up to sun down, and a lot goes into these dogs, and so I do believe there is a purpose in life...I don't think it's a coincidence that things happened the way they did," Wagner said.

So Friday--a hero's funeral.

"I realize to some this is just a dog, but to me, it's a lot more than that," Wagner said.

And a thank you for Eros' service on the streets.

But it's not a goodbye for the Wagner family to Eros--it's simply a see you later.

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