Portland Fire and Rescue says goodbye to retiring arson dog - KPTV - FOX 12

Portland Fire and Rescue says goodbye to retiring arson dog

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PORTLAND, OR (KPTV) -

It was an emotional farewell for the Portland Fire and Rescue's "top dog" Monday as a retirement ceremony was held for Lila, the only arson dog not only in the state of Oregon, but from southern Washington to Los Angeles.

After more than a half decade on the job, it was time to hang up her leash and her badge. It's a change her handler Lieutenant Fabian Jackson is struggling to handle.

“I didn't thing that it was going to be this tough, but it is,” he said.

Lt. Jackson has been Lila’s partner since she was a pup, when they went through training together with the ATF.

They've worked more than 160 fires across the west, including major crime scenes. They never left each other's sides, either at home or at work.

"That's seven hard years of lots of training and bonding,” Lt. Jackson said. “And having to retire her is not an easy thing to do."

During all that time, Lila has had to earn every meal from Lt. Jackson's hands, being fed when the pair was working as she found accelerants or other evidence.

For the first time in nearly eight years, Lila was eating from a dog bowl. It was the first meal of a new life, well deserved after a career of distinction.

The ATF requires arson dogs to retire at the age of nine, but Lila will still be part of Lt. Jackson's family.

He will be leaving for Virginia Tuesday to help train Lila’s replacement, and said he may ask Lila to help in that process once he returns to Portland.

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