Kash was remembered as a steady and driven partner who could always be relied on.
A memorial was held for the German Shepherd at the headquarters chapel on Sept. 19. Kash died of complications to cancer on September 2, about 90 minutes after locating a holstered gun.
Wiping away tears, Constable Matthew Butt reiterated that the seven-year-old German shepherd was his best partner during his 16 years on the job.
“He came out of that truck every single day on every call, be it the bad guy or property evidence, and gave me 110 per cent when I put that leash on him,” said an emotional Butt. “He gave me that on the first day that I got him and his first day on the job when he got two guys who were carjacking and then when he found that gun on his last day.”
Butt said the outpouring of love and support he received after his partner’s death was amazing.
“It was a lot more than I expected,” he added. “I got a lot of text messages, emails, and phone calls from every rank in this Service. The support from my guys at the unit and family members was also unbelievable.”
Unbeknownst to his handler, Kash had a cancerous tumour and, due to the excitement and his blood pressure increasing while searching for the gun, the tumour erupted and he bled to death internally.
The canine member joined the Service in May 2011. His original name, Erin, was quickly changed to Kash because of Butt’s admiration for singer Johnny Cash.
“He came to us with all the attributes of a great police dog,” said Staff Sergeant James Hung. “He had drive, he was confident and he wasn’t afraid of anything. He did his job right to the end.”
The dog and handler made several notable arrests in the last two years.
On September 11, 2015, Kash nabbed a man who tried to evade officers by running across rooftops in the Bloor St. W. and Lansdowne Ave. area.
Seven months later, Kash came to the rescue of Butt, who ended up on the ground trying to arrest a man who fled the scene after narcotics were discovered in a vehicle. He was able to pull the man off the officer.
Last January, Kash found a knife on a roof used by a suspect in a stabbing in Rexdale.
Butt’s wife, Samantha, read a poem at the memorial attended by Chief Mark Saunders, Deputy Chiefs James Ramer and Shawna Coxon and other officers.
“I met them both for the first time, at the same time, seven years ago,” she said. “A little while later, they both became my whole world. It is because of that dog that I didn’t have to worry when Matt was on call. I knew in my heart that Kash would die before letting anything bad happen to his partner. He made sure that my husband came home at the end of every day.”
Police chaplain Don Waterhouse officiated the ceremony.
“If anyone says, ‘Oh, it’s just a dog’, please feel free to bite their ankles,” he said.