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K-9 dies ‘a happy boy’ after suffering seizure while performing demonstration at elementary school

K-9 Eli, described as a “brave, selfless dog,” served with the Elizabeth Township Police Department since 2016

K9 named Eli collapses and dies while playing with kids at elementary school, vet says

“One of Eli’s favorite things to do on earth was to play ball near the kids at the elementary school and he collapsed as a happy boy today... doing just that,” Valley Veterinary Service said in a Facebook post.

Elizabeth Township Police Department via Facebook

By Mike Stunson
The Charlotte Observer

ELIZABETH TOWNSHIP, Pa. — A K9 revered in his Pennsylvania community over his nearly decade of service suddenly died during a police demonstration, authorities said.

The dog, named Eli, was with his handler at an elementary school Wednesday, May 15, when he had a seizure and died, Elizabeth Township police told WPXI.

“One of Eli’s favorite things to do on earth was to play ball near the kids at the elementary school and he collapsed as a happy boy today... doing just that,” Valley Veterinary Service said in a Facebook post.

The vet said Eli will be known for “rigorous police work and training,” not to mention his injuries for “playing too hard.”

Eli joined the Elizabeth Township Police Department in 2016 and had played a role in hundreds of arrests during that time, authorities said in a Facebook post.

He was usually seen alongside his handler, Officer Dan Novacek. The department called Eli a “brave, selfless dog.”

“In service, out of service, they had a real tight bond,” Sgt. Jamie Evans told WPXI. “He was more than a service dog, he was part of the family, he was part of the department, he was there, he was good.”

Others around the community paid their respects to Eli on Facebook, including Paul Saxon, who called the dog a “true hero and celebrity in the community.”

“We were privileged to be able to see him progress throughout the years, and always enjoyed the time we got to spend with him and his handler Officer Novacek,” Petland Norwin said. “Their involvement in the local communities as well as interaction with our customers always brightened our day!”

“Thank you, Eli - for keeping our community safe and for always brightening our day. You will be missed,” Candelore’s Barking Beauties said.

Elizabeth Township is about a 20-mile drive southeast of Pittsburgh.

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