Beloved Clinton Police K-9 Hawk succumbs to cancer

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Clinton's K-9 Hawk

CLINTON — It’s a sad day in the Clinton Police Department as long-serving search and rescue dog K-9 Hawk unexpectedly passed away.

Hawk, a German shepherd, spent his entire 13 years serving Clinton County, both as a search and rescue team member and a therapy dog.

Throughout his career, Hawk successfully worked drownings, fire scenes, murders, evidence recoveries, missing person and human remains recovery cases, travelling as far as Idaho, Minnesota, Wisconsin, and Ontario, Canada.  In Idaho, Hawk worked the wilderness near the Grand Mogul Peak of the Sawtooth Mountains for a missing 24 year old climber and was deployed on multiple missions in the search for a missing 20 year woman at Rainbow Falls Provincial Park in Ontario, Canada.

Hawk, who began his training for search and rescue work as a 10-week old pup, made his first find on his second deployment when he located two missing young people who left their living facility.  Soon after, he found a confused elderly woman who had been missing for over six hours from her residence after a severe rainstorm.

K=9 Hawk on track

K=9 Hawk on track

Working his first disaster, a fire that destroyed most of a city block, he located the sole victim of the fire under the rubble of a 5-story building. Hawk also provided evidence for law enforcement to send a murderer to prison when he located the buried remains of a murder victim missing for over a year.

Through his life time of volunteer service, Hawk and his handler/owner, Bill Hall, were recognized by numerous organizations for their work. They were selected as Hy-Vee Hawkeye Heroes in 2012 and received the Governor’s Volunteer Award in 2016. Hawk also received national recognition from the American Kennel Club for Search and Rescue as well as the Distinguished Therapy Dog title.

Nationally registered as a therapy dog, Hawk was actively involved in school, civic and safety presentations. He visited many health care facilities including Genesis Medical Center Rehabilitation, the Ronald McDonald House and Hope Lodge.  He took part in over 500 visits and programs.

the fall of 2014, Hawk was diagnosed with a rare form of nasal cancer. He received stereotactic radiation treatments at Colorado State University Flint Animal Care Center. After several rounds of chemotherapy, Hawk faced yet another life-threatening condition, gastric torsion. He overcame all of these obstacles to return to the search and therapy work that he loved.

Sadly, as Hawk celebrated his 13th birthday, he became ill and was unexpectedly diagnosed with a second, very aggressive form of cancer which took his life.