by Mike Lesko | Associate Editor

Stow -- Knight, a Stow police dog for 8 1/2 years, was "very self confident" and only wanted to please his handler, Officer Steve Miller.

"As soon as people I dealt with heard his bark, their demeanor would change very quickly," Miller said. "Knight knew when it was time for work, and he knew when he could just be a dog."

Knight, who retired from police work in March 2010, was put to rest Aug. 2, 2011. He was 11 1/2 years old.

Knight was recognized at Stow's Dec. 10 luminary ceremony at the Stow Safety Center.

Another police dog honored was Bagio, whose handler was fallen Twinsburg Officer Joshua Miktarian.

Bagio also died in 2011 due to medical reasons.

Both Knight and Bagio were German Shepherds.

Officer Miktarian was fatally shot July 13, 2008, during a traffic stop. He was 33 when he died and was an 11-year K-9 handler.

Knight continued to live with Miller after retiring. Miller also worked with Stow police dog Colt, a German Shepherd who joined the force in 2010 when Knight stepped down.

Stow's other police dog is Nero, a German Shepherd whose handler is Officer Ted Bell.

"Knight had been battling blood cell count issues for a few months," Miller said. "We do not know exactly what caused his quality of life to go away, but not eating and just laying by his water bowl was not the way he lived a quality life."

Stow Police Chief Louis Dirker said police K-9s are classified as full-service dogs because they are trained in searching, tracking, drug detection and fugitive apprehension.

Miller had plenty of respect for Knight.

"He would do anything I asked and do it well," Miller said. "He saved lives, and I believe he saved my life without me even knowing it [with his presence]. Even though he did not know it, Knight did everything he was asked for the protection of the people and never once hesitated to do it.

"Knight was always ready to work," Miller added. "He loved to work."

Email: mlesko@recordpub.com

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