K-9 and handler

Waunakee Police Officer and K-9 handler Brent Schmidt had formed a bond with Izzy, after working with the K-9 for just a few months. Izzy died of complications during recovery from a spay surgery.

After losing two K-9s within a year, the Waunakee Police Department has been grieving.

The unexpected loss was especially rough on Officer and K-9 handler Brent Schmidt.

Izzy, a 2-year-old black Labrador retriever, had joined the department in November.

She died after a routine spay procedure Jan. 11.

Waunakee Police Chief Adam Kreitzman said the department is still waiting on the necropsy results.

“From what we were told from the vet was everything went well. She had recovery complications,” Kreitzman said.

The necropsy will reveal to the department what caused the complications. A health warranty could provide the department with a replacement dog.

“The other part is, it would be good for a vender know whatever breeder they’re using, for the business may have some issues they don’t even know about,” Kreitzman added.

The loss was hardest for Officer Schmidt, who spent four weeks in Michigan away from his family training with Izzy, the chief said.

Several years ago as a Waunakee police officer, Kreitzman had an opportunity to experience the same thing with Alex, the department’s first K-9, as did Officer Mitch Houk, who was the handler with K-9 Thoro until that K-9s death last year.

“You’re coming back from training and you’re getting comfortable with what K-9 officer life is like,” Kreitzman said. “And that’s a ton of training and bonding, and really just becoming a partner with the dog and the dog learning what work life is like and home life.”

Izzy was becoming part of Schmidt’s family, along with the Waunakee Police Department’s family. Officer Schmidt and the dog were becoming comfortable and formed a bond, Kreitzman said.

“For something like that to happen just out of the blue, that’s devastating for him, that’s devastating for our department, especially a small department like ours,” Kreitzman said about Izzy’s sudden death.

When the department learned of Izzy’s passing, it was “kind of like a punch in the gut,” he added.

He remembered spending more time with his partner, Alex, as a K-9 handler than he did with his wife and children, going to work with the dog and bringing him home.

“The dog was every day, all day,” Kreitzman said, adding that a bond rapidly forms between the handler and the dog.

Community donations funded both K-9 Thoro and K-9 Izzy’s additions to the department.

“After Thoro died, people said, ‘How can we help you get another one?’ It’s kick to the community, too,” Kreitzman said.

Schmidt and the rest of the officers had been looking forward to introducing Izzy to the Waunakee community, something they had been unable to do during the pandemic.

“I thought Izzy would be an awesome dog in our community, just meeting the kids, in a year when we didn’t get to have a lot of community events,” Kreitzman said.

In an interview with the Tribune just two weeks prior to Izzy’s passing, Schmidt also expressed a desire to let Izzy meet children.

“She is a super social dog, super friendly. She loves meeting people,” Schmidt said.

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