Chillicothe's police dog put to sleep

Marianne Gillespie
K-9 Gosh

Chillicothe’s second K-9 dog, Gosh, was put down Jan. 27 after a few months of deteriorating health.

Chillicothe Police Chief Scott Mettille said after the Chillicothe City Council meeting Jan. 27 that veterinarians had not been able to figure out what was plaguing the 8-year-old German Shepherd. He had been in Chillicothe’s service for about three-and-one-half years.

After consulting with Gosh’s trainer and his health taking a turn for the worse over that weekend, his handler, Nick Bridges, made the difficult decision to put the dog to sleep with the chief’s support. The only other option, Mettille said, was exploratory surgery.

“Officer Bridges and K-9 Gosh served this police department and community with the highest level of professionalism. K-9 Gosh will be greatly missed and his service will always be appreciated,” Mettille wrote in a memo.

Gosh, which means ghost, hailed from Belgium and was Bridges’ first K-9 dog. Growing up around German Shepherds, Bridges told the Chillicothe Times-Bulletin after Gosh arrived in September 2010 he wanted to be a policeman so that he could be a K-9 handler. Gosh not only could detect narcotics but also could be used for tracking.

“He has been responsible for countless narcotic arrests, helped catch burglary suspects, done numerous building searches, participated in many community projects and assisted many agencies during his time working the streets,” Bridges wrote on the department’s Facebook.  

Known for being good around residents and children, Gosh was trained to remain calm in stressful situations.

“He was an amazing dog with a great temperament,” Bridges said. “Most people did not see him as he worked the night shift while many people slept. Personally, he was great with my family, fiercely protective of me when he needed to be, and would without question give his life for mine if needed.”

Almost a year after he called Chillicothe home, Gosh and Bridges traveled to New York City to compete in the World Police and Fire Games. K-9 Gosh was entered in the narcotic portion of the games, which involved building, luggage and vehicle searches.

The games pitted the dogs and their handlers against others based upon the time it took to find the narcotics. Gosh and other dogs faced hard competition when it came to the customs dogs, especially when Gosh’s normal duties did not include searching luggage. That was something he and Bridges practiced before the games. Gosh did not place at the games based on the times; however, he found all the narcotics, Bridges said.

The department’s first K-9, Konan, began with Officer Brent Cranford, who left the department for the U.S. Marshal Service and finished his duty with Sgt. Rich Mark. Konan, then 10 years old, died in July 2010, working up until his death of old age.

Public Safety Committee Chairman Mike Hughes said at the council meeting that he expected to bring to the council a request for another K-9 dog. Mettille said he expected another dog could join the police force in April or May.

While Gosh’s death leaves a hole in the department, Mettille said that does not mean the city is without canine assistance if needed. Peoria and Marshall counties can be called upon for that service, just like Gosh assisted when other agencies needed his services.