Feb 23, 2013 1:16 PM by Katie Stukey (Great Falls)
GREAT FALLS - Rhingo, a K-9 officer with the Great Falls Police Department, retired on Friday.
Rhingo served the GFPD for the seven years alongside officer John Green.
To officially mark his retirement, Rhingo had his first-ever taste of human food - bacon - on Thursday night.
He also enjoyed a piece of his retirement party cake at the department on Friday.
Rhingo is eight years old, and Officer Green tells us that Rhingo is struggling with a slipped disc in his back and that was the main factor in his retirement.
Green expressed his gratitude and appreciation to the Great Falls community for their support of Rhingo since day one.
Green tells us Rhingo was the first community-funded police dog in Great Falls.
Green says he never viewed him as just his dog, but the entire city's, though Rhingo will enjoy retirement as a Green family pet.
Friday's retirement leaves GFPD with two K-9 officers, Shep and Oakley.
Green says he plans to be a handler for a new K-9 officer eventually, but plans for bringing in a new dog have not yet been finalized.
The next K-9 should come at a lower cost, though, since Green already has training as a handler as well as a K-9-equipped patrol car and kennel.