Beloved Partner Laid to Rest after Five Years Serving with the Essex County Sherriff’s Dept.
BOSTON and Methuen, Mass. Oct. 4, 2018 – As officers from the Methuen Police Dept. stand guard, a police dog named “Ivan,” who served in the narcotics patrol unit of the Essex County Sheriff’s Dept. faithfully for the last five years before dying in March 2017, will be laid to rest tomorrow at 10:00 a.m. at the MSPCA’s Hillside Acre Cemetery in Methuen, Mass., the MSPCA-Angell announced today.
Watching with pride will be Lt. John J. Pickles of Methuen, who was Ivan’s faithful partner for five years, during which time the highly trained 90-pound German Shepherd was deployed over 700 times and made 73 apprehensions. When he was not on duty, Ivan lived at home with Officer Pickles and his family.
A Solemn Ceremony for a Hero
Ivan’s ceremony will begin with a prayer and the playing of taps before his flag-wrapped urn is lowered into the ground beneath a granite headstone, installed on September 19th, in anticipation of the burial.
“This is a very sad time for me and my family, and Ivan’s passing is also a tremendous loss for the force,” said Lt. Pickles. “I’m so honored to have spent six years with Ivan as both a colleague and a friend and I’ll miss him forever.”
Ivan was six years old when he died of complications from Lyme disease on Feb. 14, 2017. After his cremation Officer Pickles kept Ivan’s remains at his home since that time. “It just felt right to keep Ivan in our home because he was such an important member of our family, but now the time has come for him to receive the honors he is due, and I’m so grateful that we can bury him in such a special place, alongside other canine heroes.”
Ivan will be laid to rest alongside one other K9 officer in an area of Hillside Acre that is in close proximity to nine “war dogs,” who served their country in the armed forces and were buried with similar honors.
As part of the Dept.’s K-9 unit Ivan worked to ensure public safety through building checks, fence checks, common area searches, inmate living area searches, narcotic searches and crowd control.
Through the Heroes at Hillside program, police dogs such as Ivan are buried at no cost to their owner. Dave Gordon, who manages the cemetery for the MSPCA, said: “Ivan served with distinction and unwavering courage and we are honored to lay him to rest at Hillside Acre Cemetery.”