Agency: Special K-9’s Search and Recovery, New Caney Fire Department, and Navasota Fire Department
Discipline:Human Remains Detection
Breed:Labrador Retriever Mix
Date of Birth:March 2, 2011
Formal Schooling and Certifications: K-9 Remington has Completed 345 Hours of formal search and recovery training. He performed daily training with his Handler, Rachael, and weekly training with Special K-9s. He has held certifications with North American Search Dog Network (NASDN), National Organization Certifying Search and Rescue (NOCSAR), American Working Dog Association (AWADA), National Narcotic Detector Dog Association (NNDDA), and American Kennel Club (AKC) – Canine Good Citizen.
MORE ABOUT REMINGTON
Career Stats: K-9 Remington was deployed on 34 search and recovery cases with six confirmed finds of Human Remains and Human Decomposition Evidence. Remington attended over 100 Public Relations Events with New Caney Fire Department and Navasota Fire Department combined. Remington was deployed during Hurricane Harvey, where he assisted Punkin Evergreen Volunteer Fire Department and Liberty County Sheriff’s Office with searching for a missing Infant. Remington assisted Montgomery County Sherriff Department and Montgomery County Fire Marshal’s Office, where he located blood evidence from a house was set on fire after a murder was committed in the home. Remington was deployed on several high-profile criminal cases and assisted law enforcement in cold cases and missing or presumed deceased citizens in Texas, Louisiana, North Carolina, South Carolina and Oklahoma.
Additional Information: K-9 Remington is more than just a retired search and rescue K-9; he is a cancer fighter and survivor, and an advocate for dogs to be in the fire service, and for retired K-9s.
Rachael, first laid eyes on a tiny, furry puppy covered in fleas and filth, and knew from the very start that he was the one rescuing her. Remington began his training at six months old with a volunteer search and rescue team, Special K-9s. They are a cadaver detection team only, so Remington began his training in detecting human remains. As a firefighter, Rachael’s schedule made it very difficult to raise and train a search dog. She worked a shift 48 hours on, and then had 96 hours off. Much like most jobs, her fire department had a no pet policy. Rachael met with her chief at the time and explained to him how important and beneficial it would be for Remington to come to work with her. Fortunately, the chief saw the benefit and Remington began another important role–that of mascot for New Caney Fire Department. Over the next seven and a half years, Remington became trained and certified in Human Remains Detection. He went on to assist families, police departments and fire departments with countless searches. Being a human remains detection team, Remi and Rachael did not have the experience of witnessing the happy reunions that live find teams experience. Their end results are what no one wants, and it takes a strong team to get through. The greatest joy they have felt was when the wife of a man who committed suicide came up to Remington and knelt down to hug him and cried, thanking them for caring to help. On many a search, family members found comfort in Rachael’s furry ball of love.
Remington became the self-appointed public relations officer for the fire department. He loved welcoming citizens to the station. He had a fan club of all ages that would come by the station and bring him treats, or just to give him some love. At events, both adults and children were fascinated by Remington and his job. Parents of children would explain how shy their kids were and were surprised when their kids began to talk and ask questions.
Having Remington at the station not only helped with public relations, but Rachael started to see how Remington began to interact with firefighters after very tough calls. They answered the call to a fatal automobile accident one day. After they returned from the call, Rachael let Remington outside to relieve himself. He refused to go out, and instead ran up to one of the guys and put his head in his lap. He then did the same thing with each of them, one by one until he had comforted them all.
In 2013, Remington and Rachael were at work. She had let Remington out to potty like any other day when he ran off. She hurried to see where he had gone and she found him standing with a man outside waiting to see my Assistant Chief. Remington’s reaction to this man was so odd; he was absolutely in love with this stranger. Fast-forward, Rachael ended up marrying that stranger that Remington introduced her to.
In February of 2018, Rachael began a job with the Navasota Fire Department. Before she started her first shift, the Chief, Jason Katkoski, asked Rachael if she could bring Remington to the station with her. He had heard about him from other firefighters, and about his appearances at Public Relations events and his interaction with the public. Of course, she said yes.
In March of 2018, while doing agility training, Remington slipped off a ladder and began to limp. Rachael took him to the vet and was
advised to give him rest. After several months and more visits to the vet with no answers, it was decided to officially medically retire Remington on June 19, 2019. This was not an easy decision. Remington loved searching; he loved his job at the station, and Rachael loved working with him. However, he was becoming almost completely lame. Rachael had to do what was right for him.
At a vet visit in August, Rachael learned that Remington needed cranial cruciate ligament repair. She also learned he had hip dysplasia and that the CCL repair might not fix his lameness. This procedure would cost around $5,000. Without absolute certainty on the exact cause of lameness, Rachael scheduled an appointment with Texas A&M Small Animal Orthopedics. The family had to put their house on the market hoping to sell it before his visit. Rachael then began to have a bad feeling that this was more than just a knee injury, and she made the extremely difficult decision to medically end Remington’s life. He was in so much pain he could barely get up and Rachael could not afford the bills that were in his near future.
As all of this was unfolding, Rachael had switched dog foods and purchased a bag of Sport Dog Food. She had received the bag of food in August of 2019, and on the back of the bag was a story about Jason Johnson and K-9 Axel, and our non- profit, Project K-9 Hero. Rachael read that our mission is to take care of retired Military and Police working dogs.
Rachael and her husband began debating if search dogs or fire dogs would fall into this category. The next day she decided to apply on Remington’s behalf to the Project K-9 Hero organization. They thought that the worst thing that could happen is that we would decide that search dogs and fire dogs did not fall under their umbrella. However, they do so in less than one hour after Rachael pressed the “send” button on the application, she received a call from an unknown number. When she answered, she heard a voice say, “Hi this is Jason Johnson from Project K-9 Hero. I saw your application for Remington. You know, I get hundreds of applications a year.” Rachael immediately thought the next words out of his mouth would be, “I’m sorry, he doesn’t qualify. He isn’t a cop dog.” But to her surprise his next sentence would change Remington’s and Rachael’s life forever. Jason stated that they would be accepting Remington into our program and that we would “have his back.”
Rachel did not call to schedule his end of life appointment that next day as she had planned. After three visits to Texas A&M Small Animal Orthopedics, Remington was diagnosed with a puerperal nerve sheath tumor. Rachael and her family were given three options: Take Remington home and give him a few days of fun and bring him back to be euthanized; amputate his bad leg but leave the tumor until it affects the other leg; remove the leg and the tumor. Rachael was told the best thing for Remington would be to humanely euthanize him unless she had an endless amount of money. Rachael was also told that he would not be able to control his bowels or bladder after the surgery. Rachael relayed the prognosis to the PK9H Founder, Jason Johnson, that Remington was given along with the cost. To her surprise, Jason responded, “You let me worry about the money. Your job is to give Remington the fight he deserves.” Rachael laid crying on the floor and asked Remington if he wanted to fight or to give up. He got up off the floor and stared at her. He just stared, as if to say, “Of course I want to fight!” The next morning Rachael scheduled the surgery to remove his leg. On September 26, 2019, Remington had surgery at Texas A&M Veterinary Medical Teaching Hospital. He had none of the side effects that were predicted. He was running without pain within two weeks after having his leg amputated.
Remi’s leg and tumor were donated for research to assist in finding treatment and a possible cure for his type of cancer in not only dogs, but in humans as well. His cancer was not completely removed, but he will continue to live his life representing Project K-9 Hero at events to raise awareness and funding for other retired K-9s. He also still comes to the fire station and will continue to represent fire dogs as long as he can.
The stories about Remington’s career and his pictures have reached many. Rachael has been able to share his story and the benefits of dogs at fire stations to assist other departments in their decision to get dogs that act as both mascots and therapy dogs. Remington is more than a search dog; he is a HERO!
Support a retired K-9 Hero with paid medical, food, and end of duty services.
For a $20 donation, you can get a copy of "K-9 Flash Becomes A Hero!" or "K-9 Flash A Hero's Hero!" These illustrated true stories of how one abandoned puppy rose from the streets to become the inspiration for a foundation to provide care for retired police and military K-9s are sure to become beloved favorites for the little animal lovers in your life.