Emotions ran high for Columbia City Police Master Patrolman Tim Pittenger after his K9, Stryker, was found Wednesday morning in Allen County. Stryker went missing Tuesday afternoon after his kennel door came open. Post & Mail photo / Nicole Ott
COLUMBIA CITY â€” â€śThat was probably the sickest feeling Iâ€™ve had in law enforcement,â€ť K9 handler Tim Pittenger said.
Pittengerâ€™s police dog, Stryker, went missing Tuesday afternoon, but was found Wednesday morning in Allen County, at least eight miles from home. One of the Columbia City Police Departmentâ€™s investments was stranded in Tuesday nightâ€™s thunderstorm, and ended up in a goat pen on Hathaway Road.
â€śMy husband and I were getting ready to leave and I saw him in the pasture,â€ť Arani Wentland said. â€śThe goats were all lying around him.â€ť
Wentland said she got Stryker something to eat and put a rope on him.
â€śI was going to call animal control, but I pulled up the photo of the missing police dog, and he looked just like the photo,â€ť Wentland said.
Wentland called 911, and an off-duty Allen County sheriffâ€™s deputy met with Wentland and Stryker, until Pittenger arrived.
â€śIâ€™m overwhelmed that he was found safe,â€ť Pittenger said. â€śI cannot express the gratitude I have for everyone who helped look for him. The communityâ€™s response was unreal.â€ť
Pittenger has had Stryker since he was six weeks old, and Columbia City Police Chief Tim Longenbaugh said thereâ€™s a very close bond between the two. Pittenger said Stryker has been part of his family since he was a young puppy.
â€śItâ€™d be like your kid getting away from you,â€ť Pittenger said. â€śI felt helpless. I didnâ€™t get any sleep last night. I had a lot of tears, a lot of unknowns â€” sickness in my stomach. I went to see my two daughters and gave them a hug. They said a prayer for Stryker and Iâ€™m pretty sure it worked.â€ť
After Pittenger picked up Stryker, he was checked out by the veterinarian, and is expected to go back to his normal duties â€” sniffing for drugs and apprehending suspects.
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