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August 31, 2021

Fallen state police K-9 escorted back to Fauquier

Duke and his partner, Trooper Jesse Lewis, ran more than 100 calls last year, making the team the most deployed K-9 team in Virginia.
Duke wasn’t a ‘dog.’ He was my friend's partner. It meant the end of an incredibly close relationship, founded in mutual trust, respect, and a deep love that cannot be understood by people whose lives have never depended on a K-9.
— York-Posquoson sheriff's deputy
After losing his life in the line of duty, a Virginia State Police K-9 received a hero’s escort back to his Fauquier County home Monday night.

A German shepherd, “Duke” died a few hours earlier after suffering heat exhaustion over the weekend tracking suspects in Shenandoah County.

Duke and his partner, Trooper Jesse Lewis, worked with the U.S. Marshal's Fugitive Task Force.

After searching for suspects who fled from a hit-and-run Saturday, Trooper Lewis recognized his partner’s struggle and took him to an emergency veterinary clinic in Manassas.

Admitted in serious condition, Duke received fluids and blood transfusions overnight. His condition initially improved, but he died Monday night.

“K-9 Duke crossed the rainbow bridge tonight, with Trooper Lewis and his family by his side,” the Fauquier County Sheriff's Office said on Facebook.

Police from the region and VSP K-9 teams from from all over the state escorted Duke from Manassas back to Fauquier.

On Facebook, the York-Posquoson Sheriff's Office called Duke a “one in a million” police dog — focused, fearless and intense. A friend of Trooper Lewis and a fellow K-9 handler wrote that message.

"Duke wasn’t a ‘dog’,” he wrote. “He was my friend's partner. It meant the end of an incredibly close relationship, founded in mutual trust, respect, and a deep love that cannot be understood by people whose lives have never depended on a K-9."

Troop Lewis and Duke ran more than 100 calls last year, making the team the most deployed K-9 team in Virginia. State police recently assigned them to the U.S. Marshal’s Fugitive Task Force, tracking criminals on the run.

They frequently training with the Fauquier K-9 unit and appeared at community events here.

"K-9 Duke served his partner, Fauquier County and the Commonwealth of Virginia with honor, focus, intensity, courage, loyalty, and valor," the friend wrote. "He will never be forgotten."
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