Rifle police dog, Tulo, tired and ready to retire | PostIndependent.com

Rifle police dog, Tulo, tired and ready to retire

Retirement party at Ute Theater Thursday evening

TULO RETIREMENT PARTY

When: 5-7 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 24

Where: Rifle Ute Theater

What: The public is invited to attend this open house event, including photo opportunities and demonstrations by Tulo, and an introduction of Tulo’s replacement, Makki.

One of the most famous faces in Rifle law enforcement is heading to retirement.

The town’s first drug-sniffing and tracking dog, Tulo, is hanging up his collar and official police milk bone and will let the next generation take over, after a career of cracking cases and occasionally playing in the park.

Rifle Police Office Manager Robin Steffen said Tulo has been Rifle’s only police dog for the majority of his time with the department.

“He set a high standard for any canine to succeed him,” she said.

After receiving their certification earlier in January, Jax and Makai will now serve as Rifle’s drug-sniffing dogs.

Garrett Duncan, handler and owner of Tulo during his entire time in the department, said Jax has already started hitting cases. He expects retirement to be a bit of an adjustment for Rifle’s hardest-working dog.

“As dogs get older, we don’t want him to hurt himself on the job,” he explained. “[Law enforcement canine service] varies from 8 to 10 years of service, and they will typically retire between 9 and 11.”

At just over 10 years old, Tulo is right in line with those numbers after having worked in the department since July 2010.

“We didn’t want him to go into retirement injured or unhealthy,” he added.

Duncan expects Tulo to participate in police events as a retired dog and remain a face for the department.

Steffen said the department will be throwing Tulo a retirement party at the Ute Theater from 5-7 p.m. on Thursday.

“When you see him next time, he’ll just be enjoying life as a [civilian] dog,” she said.

“Tulo is a very unique and amazing dog,” Steffen added. “He can go to a call and the next hour he’ll be playing in the park with kids. We gave Tulo his own mailbox at the station because he was getting so much fan mail.

“Not a huge blowout, but we wanted to celebrate him.”

azorn@citizentelegram.com