Hemi, Stockton University's retired K-9 dog passed away earlier this month, just shy of his 14th birthday.

Hemi, a chocolate Lab, was Stockton's first K-9 officer and served with his handler, Lt. Tracy Stuart, from 2011 until his retirement in 2020.

If you have ever been through the loss of your pet dog, you know the pain that Lt. Stuart is feeling. The loss is compounded by memories of Hemi as both her pet and her former work partner. That is a tough one.

"It is truly devastating to have lost my original ride-or-die in K-9 Hemi. It's hard to imagine a world without him in it. I know the Stockton community, whom Hemi loved, mourns with me. I try to find solace in the countless happy memories of his campus community engagement shenanigans that made people laugh as well as his incredible service achievements."

Stuart was selected as the canine handler and assisted the department in choosing the chocolate lab. Hemi was named through a university-wide poll. He graduated from the New Jersey State Police K-9 Police Academy, a rigorous 16-week training program in 2011.

The K-9 team of Hemi and Stuart served on a New Jersey regional bomb detection task force and were called to action to investigate bomb threats, dignitary visits, parades, and special events deemed vulnerable to terroristic attacks.

Hemi retired from service and became Stuart’s pet. K-9 Freya succeeded Hemi in service to Stockton. Hemi and Freya got along well and enjoyed playing together as brother and sister.

Our condolences to Lt Stuart and Freya on the loss of their friend and companion, Hemi.

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