Lexington County K-9 handler Adam Clayton and his partner, Bady, were finally in a comfortable working rhythm when the dog contracted an illness that forced him to medically retire earlier this year.
“In the beginning it was hurtful because I know he has so much more to do, so many more things to accomplish,” Clayton said. “Once they get to a certain point in their career, they get into what we call Cadillac mode where they know what they’re supposed to do in life and they just go and do it. You’re basically just holding onto them while they do their job. We’re going to miss those years.”
But at the same time Bady was stepping away from the K-9 unit, so was the handler of his brother, Bono.
“We got Bady and Bono at the same time,” Clayton said. “It was just a natural thing for Bono to come to me because I’m without a dog. Bono knows me, has been around me his whole career so it was an easy transition for him and for me.”
With Clayton and Bono working together so well, Bady has accepted his new role as Clayton’s family pet.
“Since they are brothers, they do a lot of things the same, they have the same mannerisms, they were trained the same, they react to certain situations the same,” Clayton said. “He’s just an extension of Bady. It’s been that easy.”
Though the transition has been a smooth one for Clayton, the Lexington County Sheriff’s Department’s K-9 unit is still down two dogs. He said it’s been more work for everyone, but they’re getting through it as a team.
“That’s kind of life in general. When things get down, you have to pick each other up and move on and that’s what the K-9 unit’s all about,” Clayton said. “We’re a team and when one of us is down, we all step in and do what we need to do.”