Retired canines die 16 days apart

Officers thank veterinarians for caring for Toledo police dogs

Danja and Bella, retired Toledo Police Metro Drug Task Force Canine Unit dogs,  who both died in the past three weeks.
Danja and Bella, retired Toledo Police Metro Drug Task Force Canine Unit dogs, who both died in the past three weeks.

Two Toledo Police Department retired canines died recently within a few weeks of each other.

Danja, a 12-year-old German shepherd born in Germany, died May 8 from kidney failure. Bella, a 12-year-old German shepherd from West Virginia, died May 24 from a gastric disorder.

Their partners, officers Brian Gaylord and John Greenwood, presented a plaque last week to thank the veterinarians and staff at High Point Animal Hospital in Maumee.

“We can’t put into words how much we appreciate all you have done,” Officer Greenwood told the staff during last Friday’s presentation. “The community needs to know how well you take care of our dogs.”

High Point has cared for Toledo Police Department police dogs free of charge since 1995.

“It’s our way of giving back to the community,” said Dr. Thomas Mowery, who offered his services to Officer Greenwood, whose personal dog was a patient at the clinic. The vet clinic also has treated the police dogs from the University of Toledo and the Waterville Police Department.

Danja retired from the force in November, joining Bella, who retired in October. Their partners each took them to their homes to live out their lives, but Danja didn’t enjoy a more leisurely lifestyle, said Officer Gaylord.

“She would get excited when she would hear me get my keys out to go to work, and I’d have to tell her she couldn’t go,” Officer Gaylord said. “She hated having to stay at home.”

Danja started with the department in April, 2002, while Bella joined the force in October, 2004.

Bella, who was bred by a police officer in West Virginia, was an AKC Certified Pedigree, and her official registered name was Princess Bella von Bear. Both dogs were trained to detect and alert to the odors of marijuana, cocaine, heroin, methamphetamine, hashish, LSD, and their derivatives.

Both officers have new police dog partners — German shepherds named Wespe and Tanko — who had been living with their predecessors before they died.

When Bella didn’t return from the vet the last time she went in, her housemate, Tanko, couldn’t understand where she had gone, said Officer Greenwood.

“He kept looking from room to room for her,” he said. “He really misses his buddy.”

Contact Tanya Irwin at:, 419-724-6066, or on Twitter at @TanyaIrwin.