Dogs tend to be just as good of friends as any humans would; the more time we spend with them, the more we’ll get attached.
Considering this, it’s no surprise that police officers get attached to their K9 units. Spending years working with the same dog means you’re going to have a bond with them.
This is exactly the case with officer Matthew Hickey of Marietta, Ohio.
For four years, Hickey worked and grew close with his K9 unit, a German Shepherd named Ajax.
“This is the son I’ve never had,” Hickey said about him.
Back in 2016, Hickey was close to retirement after more than 30 years on the police force. And understandably, he wanted Ajax to join him in leaving the workforce to come home with him.
But this is where the legal issues came into play.
In Ohio, K9s are considered state property—Ajax wasn’t technically Hickey’s dog.
The law requires that when their officer retires, the K9 unit will continue to work if it’s healthy. And this was the case given Ajax was just six years old at the time.
Hickey did try to purchase the dog, but the state declined the offer. It was then set that Ajax would instead be put up for auction.
Upon finding this out, Hickey and his family turned to social media to tell others of their story.
It was a tough time for the family, as the dog they had known to love may have been taken from them due to some technicalities.
In the midst of the situation, Corey Orr—a man that had never even met Hickey—saw the family’s plea to Facebook through a mutual friend.
And he decided to do something about it.
Orr set up a GoFundMe so that Hickey could get his dog back.
Donations started pouring in towards Hickey’s cause. And it didn’t take them long to reach their goal of $3,000.
As a matter of fact, they absolutely shattered the original goal.
The page reached an unbelievable $72,595 in donations!
To make things even better, the representatives canceled the auction once they saw how Hickey’s GoFundMe went viral.
They agreed to sell the dog to Hickey for just a dollar—the two were finally reunited.
As the page itself stated, the leftover money was used towards a company that specializes in making bulletproof vests for other K9 units.
It was a win-win for all parties involved.
“I couldn’t see myself being separated from Ajax,” Hickey said.
Along with Orr, many people Hickey had never even known had contributed towards his cause. It just shows that his struggle resonated with all these people.
A story of someone just trying to be reunited with their dog is something we all can feel sympathy for. And in this case, these people were able to make it actually happen.