Officer Matthew Hickey has served his community of Marietta, Ohio, for over 30 years in the police force. When Officer Hickey retired in 2016, he found out his community had his back also.
At the age of 57, Hickey turned in his badge. He spent the last four years of his police career working as an officer with the K9 unit. As his retirement neared, Officer Hickey had made plans to buy his partner, a German shepherd called Ajax. He wanted the two to retire together, but, sadly, it was much more complicated than that.
K9’s are considered city property and Ohio law state that when they retire, they can only be purchased by an active or retired police officer or specialized trainer. Matthew would be fine then, surely? Unfortunately, it was a no. The human handlers can only purchase the dogs if they’re either elderly or had been injured in the line of duty.
Sadly, neither of these situations applied to Ajax’s situation. He was only 6-years-old at the time, in perfect health and he could continue to work as a K9 officer for years to come. For Hickey, that didn’t sit well with him. Ajax wasn’t just his work partner, he was part of the family.
Officer Hickey offered to pay the city Ajax’s assessed value of $3,500 but city officials turned him down. Instead, they planned to auction him off to the highest bidder
“That just sounds so wrong to me, to auction off a living, breathing thing like you would a desk or a chair,” said Matthew’s wife, Sandra Hickey.
Knowing that Officer Hickey’s beloved canine colleague would be going to auction, he knew there was a strong chance of being outbid and never seeing his partner again. But when word got out about Matthew’s dilemma, members of his local community wanted to try and help out where possible. So they started a GoFundMe page.
In the following weeks, $72,000 was raised for Officer Hickey to buy his K9 companion in the auction
It made me understand that there’s a lot more good people out there than there are bad people.
While this was all going on, the city officials tried their best to avert a community relations issue that was coming from their reluctance to sell Ajax to Officer Hickey.
The legal department got to work to try and find a loophole in the law. If a canine unit is disbanded, the dog’s handlers are allowed to purchase their partners for just $1. But what constitutes a canine unit was never specifically defined. Therefore when Officer Hickey retired, his canine unit had technically been disbanded.
I’m speechless and I’m so very grateful. There’s no way I can thank everybody. I’m so thankful and relieved. There are really good people out here. They’re kind, they’re considerate and they want to make things right. God bless them.
We’re so glad Officer Hickey and Ajax got their happy ending. Share this touching story with your friends to brighten up their day. Also, at Happiest we love hearing all of your opinions. So please let us know what you thought of the article in the comment section below. 🐝