Community pays tribute to Hartsville K-9 officer - WBTW-TV: News, Weather, and Sports for Florence, SC

Community pays tribute to Hartsville K-9 officer

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By Robert Sloan

Hartsville Police Sgt. Matt Heater will be the first to tell you Axon, his partner while in uniform for seven years and a member of his family for 13, was no ordinary dog.

“He was very, very special,” said Heater, who was joined by family, fellow law enforcement officers, city officials and friends in honoring Axon on Thursday night at a K-9 Memorial Service at Lakeview Baptist Church in Hartsville.

Axon, who was active on the force from 2000 to 2007, died April 16. He became the Heater family’s full-time pet upon his retirement from active duty because of medical reasons.

“Axon knew when he was on duty,” Heater said. “It was like he could flip a switch. While at work he was all business, but once he got home he would play and roll around with kids. He was very much a part of our family.”

Heater and his wife have four children — Drew, Katelyn, Sarah and Addy. He said they all loved Axon very much and will miss him dearly.

Axon was one of three K-9 officers serving the Hartsville Police Department. Dara is now retired, also because of medical reasons, leaving Edgar as the department’s only active K-9 officer.

During Thursday’s service, the Rev. Tim McKnight read scripture and eulogized Axon by honoring him for his service to the community and to his family.

As a tape of “Amazing Grace” was played, the Hartsville police honor guard folded an American flag and presented it to Heater and his wife, Cara. On display at the front of the altar was a wooden urn holding Axon’s ashes and a K-9 Unit badge.

Members of the police department commissioned a portrait of Heater and his late partner and presented it to the family. 

The service drew to a close with the reading of a poem Cara Heater wrote in Axon’s honor, titled “My Partner, My Best Friend.”


We were placed together for a good cause,
You were my partner, who had four dirty paws,
Training together we learned our mistakes,
You matured so quickly with dignity and grace,

You were always so proud to stand by my side,
In the heat of the battle, you wanted outside,
Not for the glory but to protect me from harm
For you were my friend who was happiest, under my arm.

Speeding to calls with sirens aloud,
Your bark could be heard, dignified and proud,
So pleased to have helped me, in that major case
Your greatest reward was the look on my face.

Then the day came that I had to work alone,
Knowing that when I returned
you would be waiting at home

Me leaving the house without you those days,
I know you were sad as you were ordered to stay,
Then years later you began to slow,
But you stayed in my heart as best in show,

For we had been through so much those years,

Now I must work to fight these tears,

The silence in the car is so sad,
I start to remember those days we had,
But we will again ride together some day,
So until then, it’s at God’s home you’ll stay.

So today it’s not just Goodbye my partner

It’s also goodbye my best friend that I say.

 

To Axon all my love, your human mommy!! – Cara

 

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