|Birth: ||Dec., 1998|
|Death: ||Nov. 29, 2013|
RETIRED ALLEN COUNTY POLICE K9 RALPH a Belgian Malinois, had to be put down on Nov. 29, 2013, due to several medical issues. He was 14 years 11 months old. He retired from the force on Aug. 31, 2012, after 12 years 7 months of active duty as my partner. He was the longest police working K9 ever for Allen County. He was very much loved by many, including his little "sister" Jack Russell Terrier, Dayzee. During K9 Ralph's and my career, over 6000 K9 Ralph baseball cards were handed out during many K9 demonstrations. K9 Ralph was trained in obedience, narcotics detection, building searches, area searches, tracking and aggression control. K9 Ralph was named this rather unusual name in honor of my father, William Ralph Furnish. My dad passed away of cancer at the young age of 52, on my 30th birthday. My father told me how proud he was of me, so when I got my police K9, I thought I would honor my father by naming my K9, "Ralph". My father loved dogs too. "Rest in peace Ralph. You are deeply missed!" Lt. Terry L. Furnish Allen County Police Department
Ralph was a Police Dog with the Fort Wayne Police Department.
Published in Fort Wayne Newspapers on Dec. 8, 2013
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Young spark plug
It's February 15, 2000, and Fort Wayne Police Officer Terry Furnish is at a kennel in southern Indiana looking at possible K-9 units to take back to Allen County and train as police dogs.
Amid all the German shepherds, a Belgian Malinois catches his eye.
And that's how Furnish met his partner on the force.
Later that day, someone will take a snapshot of Furnish and the dog, a young spark plug barely a year old with almost orange hair.
Furnish grew up with dogs all his life, and his old man loved the animals.
So he named his new K-9 partner Ralph in honor of his father, William Ralph Furnish, who died at age 52 from cancer.
For the next dozen years, the tandem became a fixture on the force.
Ralph was involved in everything. He sniffed drugs in cars and sniffed drugs in packages in the mail; he even helped locate suspects in an armed robbery or two.
In one 2006 case, he led Furnish on a scent that wound over and under several fences in a neighborhood, finally locating five men accused of robbing a gas station in several areas of one neighborhood.
Between the chases and drugs, Furnish took the dog around to schools and showed him to kids. He even had a set of trading cards – like baseball cards – made of the dog.
He estimates he gave away maybe 6,000 trading cards during Ralph's tenure with the department.
"He did a lot of good for the county," Furnish said. "He took a lot of drugs off the streets."
As the years went on, Ralph's hips began to show signs of the wear and tear that come with a being a police dog.
And like the top of Furnish's head, Ralph's muzzle began to gray.
In August 2012, Furnish had Ralph retire from the force. The dog had served 12 years and seven months in a field where most dogs last five or six years, max.
For his last day, someone baked Ralph a cake.
On the day after his last day, when Furnish put on his uniform and got ready to go to his squad car, Ralph started pushing his nose against the door in an attempt to wedge it open.
He'd do this day after day for the next year, and each time, he'd be rebuffed by Furnish.
"I'd say, ‘Ralph, sorry man, you're retired,' " Furnish said. "Then he'd go lay on his bed. He got used to it after a while."
Created by: Steve
Record added: Dec 06, 2013
Find A Grave Memorial# 121288682