After four years of service, K-9 officer Sassy retired from the Bennettsville Police Department on Aug. 31.
A Belgian Malinois, Sassy was a narcotics detection and tracking dog.
Her partner and handler Sgt. Tim Hood said she was four years old when she started working for the department on Aug. 6, 2014.
Both went through 160 hours of training to be certified. She is trained for marijuana, crack cocaine, and heroin.
The $8,500 cost for her was split between the police department and the Marlboro County School District.
Two months out of training, Hood said, Sassy did several good traffic stops.
"After two to three traffic stops, she had paid for herself from the money collected from forfeitures," Hood said. "She has done well for herself."
Her skills were used at the federal prison at the dorms.
Hood said she alerted them to several spots where inmates had contraband.
Hood said they have assisted the Sheriff's Office, McColl Police Department, and Highway Patrol.
She was used when a child or adult was missing.
As Sassy's handler, she stayed with Hood 24/7.
He made sure she went to her veterinarian visits, fed and cared for her.
"Wherever I went, she went," he said. "Even on vacation, she is part of the family.
Hood said they trained with Matt Read, who runs K9 Penn Dog Training Services at Surfside Beach and his son, Jake Read.
"They noticed Sassy didn't take her eyes off of me," Hood said. "When you get a bond like that, they are there with you 24/7. If something was to happen, she was there to protect me."
During her four years with the department, age has taken a toll on her. Sassy retired due to medical issues with her back legs.
"You don't want to be out there with your partner and know she is in pain and working," Hood said.
Hood noticed at home that something wasn't right when she jumped down and landed on her hind legs.
The veterinarian said with her age that it could be either her joints or arthritis.
Now that she is retiring, Sassy will remain with Hood. He talked with Chief Kevin Miller and City Administrator Max Alderman, who allowed him to keep her.
"August 31 was her final day as a K-9 officer for the city of Bennettsville," Hood said. "She will go with me and be with me for the rest of her life."
For her first week of retirement, Hood will be on vacation. Once he returns to work, he said it will be normal except Sassy won't be at the station with him.
"It is tough. I hate to see her go. It will be tough getting used to but I know when I leave work, she will be there at home," he said.
"She is going to be with me. She is going to enjoy life."
He noted she will never give up the work life.
"There is no cut off switch for her," Hood said. She is wide open.
The department has K-9 officer Bogart, who is a Labrador retriever, trained for narcotics and tracking. He will be taking over the workload now.