By Melanie Yingst
MIAMI COUNTY — For more than nine years, he served side-by-side with Miami County law enforcement tracking criminals and taking drugs off the streets.
And now, the K-9 unit that took hundreds of pounds of drugs off Miami County streets needs the community’s help.
Nero, Miami County Sheriff’s Office K-9 unit retired this spring after being diagnosed with cancer in April. The Belgium Malinois has had successful surgery to remove the cancer from the liver and gallbladder, yet Miami County Sheriff’s Office Deputy Tina Waymire said Nero’s costly medical care is rising and she needs help to continue Nero’s care.
“He was known for his drug work and his tracking,” Waymire said of Nero. “The best was seeing Nero do demonstrations for students at the local schools. That was the most fun for us. Yes, the work for us, but we enjoyed showing the kids that they can be social, too.”
An all-you-can eat spaghetti dinner will be held today at 6 p.m. at First United Methodist Church, 110 W. Franklin St., Troy. Tickets for the dinner are $10 and are available at the door. An auction will begin at 7:30 p.m. as well as a 50/50 drawing. All proceeds will help pay current and future medical expenses for Nero.
The Miami County Sheriff’s Office donated $2,000 for Nero’s medical care, yet the funds were expended quickly for his surgery. Nero will need X-Rays, ultrasounds and blood work every three months to check if the cancer returns. Each visit can cost approximately $450.
“The relationship we have with these dogs is hard to describe,” Waymire said. “We are with them more than we are with our own families.”
Waymire has trained three K-9 units in her nearly 29 years of law enforcement. Nero is her last K-9 she has trained and worked on patrol with during her career.
“We train them and handle them every day and they are willing to give their lives for us,” Waymire said of the K-9 units.
Waymire said she has trained Nero since he was 1 year old and brought over from Czechoslovakia.
Waymire said she hopes to make a K-9 benefit for all retired K-9 patrol dogs if this event is successful.
“We’d like to take this benefit beyond just Nero’s care and to help other dog handlers,” Waymire said. “These dogs still have great quality of life after retirement — they are our partners.”
Waymire is working to find a sponsor for Nero’s care and to help fund retired K-9 units in the future. A fund has been set up at Abbey Credit Union branches in Troy and Vandalia. Donations may be sent to the K-9 Nero Medical Fund, 1341 Wayne St., Troy, OH 45373; or Abbey Credit Union, 800 Falls Creek Drive, Vandalia, OH 45377.
For more information, contact Deputy Tina Waymire at firstname.lastname@example.org or “Like” K-9 Nero on Facebook for continuous updates on his condition.