HOWARD COUNTY, Ind. (WISH) — A service dog is honoring the life of a Howard County Deputy, who was shot and killed in the line of duty back in March.
The service dog is named after Deputy Carl Koontz. His widow and son got a chance to meet with Koontz for the very first time at the Howard County Sheriff’s Department on Wednesday.
“He is absolutely beautiful,” said Kassie Koontz, widow.
Kassie Koontz told 24-Hour News 8 she thought about her husband when she met the black lab with her son Noah.
“He absolutely loved dogs so when they came to me with the idea of a therapy dog in honor of Carl there was no doubt in my mind absolutely we’re doing this,” she said.
The idea all began when someone reached out to the Indiana Canine Assistant Network looking to sponsor a service dog. The anonymous person heard about the deputy’s story and wanted to name the dog Koontz.
“It helps knowing that Koontz will be doing the same thing that Carl did,” she said.
Kassie said her husband had plans to apply to be a K9 officer. Koontz will be trained to help people living with physical or developmental disabilities. His training will take around two years to complete. Kassie said she’s already working on his patch for graduation.
“It will be a good way for people when they see Koontz to ask what this patch represents and whoever has him can tell a story and that will keep his name going,” she said.
Dino Sierp is the Director of Development and Outreach at ICAN. She said these service dogs can also have a tremendous impact on the healing process.
“What we find when dogs are named after someone is they continue a healing journey for that family,” said Sierp.
Sierp said the dogs can show people so much about companionship, unconditional love, and so much more.
“You know, I always say dog is God spelled backyards because they truly give out those gifts that hope is abundance,” she said.
Sierp said the dogs are trained by inmates at Indiana correctional facilities as part of a program. Sponsoring a dog could cost anywhere between $5,000 to $26,000.
“Little Koontzy here is going to be walking in the steps of the late officer Koontz and he’s going to be a reminder about bringing hope,” she said.