"He's where he belongs," said Lynsay Fox.
That was the significance of Monday night, when fallen Plymouth Police officer Bradley Fox's K-9 partner, Nick, was officially retired and transferred to Fox's wife and child at a Plymouth Township Council meeting. That in such a tragic event, where so much is as it shouldn't be, at least one thing can be made right.
That Lynsay, daughter Kadence, and a second child due next year, will have a small part of their husband and father to be with them through the years. To greet them in the morning with tail wagging, and to investigate bumps in the night.
Nick's retirement was several months in the making. Since Nick, a Belgian Malinois, was paid for with a grant from the Department of Homeland Security, Plymouth Township and Montgomery County officials had to cut through red tape to enable him to turn in his badge and rejoin the Fox family.
"Nick came to us through a grant from Homeland Security, and the Montgomery County Commissioners were instrumental in helping us clear that up so that we could do this tonight," said Plymouth Council chairman Sheldon Simpson.
In a video played by police chief Joseph Lawrence, it became apparent why dogs like Nick are so valuable. Taken at East Norriton Township Day on September 8, just five days before Officer Fox's life was tragically lost, Nick sits obediently by Fox's side, albeit chomping at the bit to take down a mock criminal.
The man begins to run, but still Nick sits, waiting, until Fox finally gives the command. Nick sprints across a baseball outfield, like a bolt of lighting, and takes the criminal down by the arm.
But never again will he have to chase down a suspect, and put his life on the line like he did on September 13, 2012. Instead, he'll stretch his legs in the Fox backyard, and patrol the family's Gilbertsville neighborhood during walks with Lynsay and Kadence by his side.
And how fitting that he be given to the Fox family on Monday, when many were honoring Veteran's Day and servicemen like Bradley Fox, who performed two tours of duty in Iraq as a Marine.
"That was the way Brad lived his life, with service and with sacrifice," said Montgomery County Commissioner Josh Shapiro. "He was, and remains a vibrant and important part of our Montgomery County family… we are forever grateful for Brad and we are forever inspired by your strength, Lynsay."
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