RAPID CITY, S.D. — It was a bittersweet day for the Rapid City Fire Department on Friday, June 25.
It was retirement for Cisco, the departments and South Dakota Task Force 1’s first live find search dog – who got a new collar for the occasion.
“It’s a sad day, hate to see him go, but after 49 years – or seven of our human years – we’re saying farewell to a good boy,” said Rapid City Fire Chief Jason Culberson, at Cisco’s retirement party.
A career that’s featured missing person searches, including Serenity Dennard and the Sioux Falls building collapse in 2016.
It’s the end of Cisco’s training career, but it’s a day still filled with smiles and a wagging tail, especially as he and his handler Jeremy, look back.
“He’s taken me all over the place, you know, we’ve trained in the some of the roughest environments, you know, concrete rubble piles, wood rubble piles, we’ve trained in complete darkness, building searchers,” said Jeremy Gibbons, Cisco’s Handler. ” You know, I trust him and he trusts me. It’s kind of the end of an era.”
He’s retiring a year early due to health problems, but Cisco is coming home to be a family dog now, although he won’t be the only K9 in the house.
Jeremy plans on training the next live search dog for the R.C.F.D. with Cisco still close.
“Cisco’s going to come to work with me, it’s his routine, he’s still set up here in the fire station,” Gibbons said. “He’s got his own room, his own kennel back here, so that won’t change.”
After all what better role model to live with? Cisco’s the one that’s teaching and carrying on a legacy.
“My wife said the same thing, ‘are you sure you want two of these?’,” Gibbons said. “He’s mellowed out so much; he’ll be alright.”
The end of an era for R.C.F.D, but one that hopes to set the tone for the next.
“I’m proud of him and his career, I mean, he’s done everything I’ve asked him to do,” Gibbons said.