Ga. cop mourns loss of K-9 officer who saved his life

By George Chidi, Staff
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Cpl. Mike Wadell was too upset to talk about his dog, Aryn.

The 11-year-old German shepherd was euthanized Wednesday after a series of ongoing health problems. The decorated police dog was shot in the line of duty in January 2004. The department retired Aryn a month later.

Aryn is credited with saving Wadell's life. Wadell, Gwinnett County's K-9 unit trainer, took him in as his pet.

But as the police department prepareda funeral with full police honors, Wadell couldn't talk about his loss, said Cpl. Darren Moloney, Gwinnett's police spokesman.

"It's like a death in the family," Moloney said.

Police credit Aryn with helping protect Wadell's life while chasing a murder suspect in January 2004. Aryn and Wadell had been chasing Terry Chaney the night after Chaney shot and killed Tucker High School coach Billy Venable and his son Bill, a varsity football player.

Chaney shot Aryn in the chest and leg. Police then shot and killed Chaney, 19.

Aryn received several commendations, including two Medals of Valor, a Purple Heart and lifetime membership from the local Fraternal Order of Police, as well as being named one of the Officers of the Year for 2004 by Gwinnett Police. "This selfless act most assuredly saved the lives of the officers that were with him at the time," Moloney said in a statement released Wednesday.

Police will hold private services 2 p.m. Jan. 31 in Bethlehem, Ga., at Oak Rest Pet Gardens, which has donated a plot and headstone. In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to The Cody Fund c/o Community Foundation for Northeast Georgia, 6500 Sugarloaf Parkway, Suite 220, Duluth, GA 30097. Read more about The Cody Fund at the group's Web site, gfi.actx.com, click on "Funds" at the top of the screen and scroll down to read more.

Copyright 2007 The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

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