The Austin Fire Department is mourning the loss of one of their own tonight. Their beloved K9 Pearl was put to sleep yesterday. The black lab served for eight years on their force. "She was unlike any do I personally have had," says her handler AFD Lieutenant Brooks Frederick.
"She was getting to the point where she wasn't functioning well," Brooks says of why they had to say goodbye to the fourteen-year-old.
Pearl was Frederick's first canine at the Austin Fire Department. "I haven't cried like that I think, since my daughter was born 33 years ago."
Pearl served on their ATF team. She made a pretty big impact around Central Texas. Frederick says the two worked with twenty-three counties assisting with local ATF and fire department investigations when they needed it. "we didn't break any phenomenal cases but just the diligence and collected lots of evidence that added to making cases successful," Frederick says of his beloved dog's skills.
She retired in 2010. A male lab, Leo took her place. He retired on Valentin's day and lives with Frederick too. "What they are used for is to help us collect evidence at a fire scene where we aren't sure how the fire was started," He says.
Frederick is a thirty-one veteran of the Austin Fire Department. He'll retire at midnight on Saturday night. Though he says he'll enjoy the down time, losing Pearl will leave a hole in his heart permanently, "I'm going to get tearful here. I'm going to miss her."