GROTON -- Less than five months after her initial diagnosis with high-grade B-cell lymphoma, beloved K-9 officer Lola lost her battle with the cancer Dec. 4.
The 8-year-old black lab had been the trusted partner of Officer Nick Beltz for six years as the department's first and only four-legged police officer. Her duties extended beyond sniffing out drugs and tracking down missing people, to Beltz, Lola was a member of the force and the family. "We are together almost constantly," he said in an October interview with the Voice. "We live together and we work together."
She was also an ambassador for the department and for the town, often entertaining students at the district schools or making appearances at town events. "The outpouring of support from the community has really shown what an impact Lola had in Groton and surrounding towns," Beltz said in a statement.
She received full traditional police honors. On her last day she walked out of the station to two columns of saluting officers. She was cremated. Her ashes are at Beltz's house, where his family is devastated by the loss of the family member.
The Select Board declared, by proclamation, Dec. 4 as "K-9 Lola Day."
As for her replacement, Beltz said, "I believe from conversation with our administration the department would like to continue the K-9 program."
"The department's reaction was that of grief and sorrow," according to his statement. "She will be missed but not forgotten.
During Lola's last ride in Beltz's cruiser, dispatch gave out her "last call" over the radio.