Four veteran officers aren’t the only ones leaving the Falls Church Police Department in June. So is Thor.
Thor is the German shepherd pooch that is the department’s only remaining trained canine. There used to be two dogs, but the canine division is now being eliminated, altogether, due to budget constraints.
But Thor will remain in town, to become the personal pet of Officer Jane Moreno, a City resident who has been in charge of him, and he will remain “at the ready,” so to speak, if budget conditions improve and he is called back to duty.
Thor joined the force two years ago, a gift to the City from developer Bob Young, and following his basic police dog training in upstate Pennsylvania and then 16 weeks of intense training in the Fairfax County Police’s program.
When the Falls Church Department decided to drop its canine program, the original plan was to donate Thor to the Fairfax Police.
However, a better plan emerged to make everyone happier. The dog was given back to Young, who in turn, gave it to Officer Moreno.
Thus, Moreno, who’d become attached to Thor as his handler and as his landlord (it is common for police dogs to live with their handlers), gets to keep the dog, and she’ll keep him up to speed in the event the Falls Church police want to put him back to work in the future.
That would not have been an option had Thor simply been gifted over to Fairfax.
No doubt Thor’s happy to remain in Officer Moreno’s care, too. The only conditions for staying as her pet are that he get his teeth cleaned, and that he visit Dr. Rogers at the Falls Church Animal Hospital for a minor, ahem, operation.