In mid-July, the Georgia’s Lawrenceville Police Department said goodbye to a member of its K9 force. “Eiko,” an eight-year-old German shepherd, lost his life to an aggressive cancer, and his handler, Officer Shawn Humphreys, was left with a broken heart. At a memorial service for Eiko, Humphreys commented on the huge loss, stating that Eiko would be, “sorely missed and never forgotten.”
Humphreys chose a wonderful way to honor his former partner’s memory – recently, he volunteered to foster a German shepherd that was rescued from a rural animal control agency in Georgia, by Releash Atlanta. On August 22, the non-profit organization shared the heartwarming story about how the homeless dog, who had been surrendered by his owner, was saved. Releash Atlanta recounted its first encounter with the dog:
A few weeks ago we were at animal control and we saved some dogs. We also met the German Shepherd in this photo. He was an owner surrender with an injury and on the list. This was the same week K9 officer Eiko of the Lawrenceville PD was laid to rest.
The story nearly had a dismal ending – though members of the rescue group were touched by the dog’s plight, they knew that they had nowhere to put him because their rescue was full. Fortunately, before all hope was lost, there was a life-altering change of heart. Releash Atlanta wrote, “we got about 30 minutes into our drive back to Atlanta and couldn’t take it. We couldn’t get his face out of our heads and we couldn’t help but think his life needed to be SAVED given the emotions around losing my newest dog friend Eiko that I met the week before. We whipped that Releash Mobile around and went back for him!”
Given that the German shepherd was saved during the same week that K9 Eiko was laid to rest, the group decided to give him a name to honor the recently deceased Lawrenceville K9 – the rescued dog is now known as Eiko Junior, or “EJ.” Kristin Sarkar, founder of Releash Atlanta, told The Dodo that Eiko’s former handler was first in line with an offer to foster Eiko Junior – Sarkar stated, “We had to have a place for him to go before we could save him, the whole thing aligned perfectly and we could get him into their home.”
Releash Atlanta recounted the Humphreys’ decision to foster EJ:
When they heard about him and why we saved him, they asked if he needed a foster.. He is now being called EJ (Eiko Junior) and they have welcomed him with open arms. This family is amazing and they are now nurturing this life that was saved because of the special K9 boy they just lost.
EJ promptly made himself at home at the Humphreys’ house – even choosing Eiko’s former favorite chair to curl up in.
Since Officer Humphreys will be receiving a new K9 partner soon, EJ will be in need of a forever family. Releash Atlanta wrote, “EJ will be available for adoption soon so get your apps in! Releashatlanta.com
He’s a year old and good with other dogs! Has fun energy but calms down and relaxes too!”
Find Releash Atlanta on Facebook here.