K9 Tributes – Police Week 2019 – Gildon

K9 Gildon

Date of Birth: 10/1/2004
Dates of Service: 7/1/2006 – 12/1/2013
End of Watch: 9/11/2015
Breed: German Shepherd

Partner: Sergeant Jeff Felt

K9 Gildon was the third working dog acquired by Capital K9s for the City of Madison Police Department – thanks to a generous donation from Veridian Homes. He received his veterinary care from the Animal Hospital of Verona.

(Written by Sgt. Felt)

I’ve sat down a few times to try and write my thoughts to honor my partner of nearly 10 years — and have quickly become overwhelmed by the emotion and enormity of this task.  How can I possibly capture his impact and the greatness that I witnessed on a daily basis to those who may not know him or only met him in passing?  I don’t think I can, but I owe it to him to try.

The “him” I’m referring to is Gildon, my K9 partner and shadow for nearly 10 years, eight of those years working the streets of Madison and surrounding communities.  He abruptly left us on September 11, 2015.  A day to remember our fallen heroes and, I’m sure, part of his master plan. 

Gildon was an ideal pairing for me, my personality and temperament.  A circuitous path brought us together — Gildon was not my first K9 partner.  He was, technically, Gildon the 2nd.  The 1st Gildon and I worked together for about 5 months.  He didn’t work out, was returned to the vendor and Gildon the 2nd and I were paired together.  An immediate bond was formed.  We returned from our training and began working the street in July, 2006. 

One of our first assignments was working the Rhythm and Booms fireworks event at Warner Park.  I was certainly nervous.  Taking a brand new police dog to an event where hundreds of fireworks will explode is a bit daunting.  Gildon handled it like a champ, just like he handled the nearly 2000 calls for service during his career.

Gildon was a tremendous partner.  He was selfless, fearless, and relentless.  He trusted me implicitly and, although he could be a stubborn son of a gun, not a shift went by that he didn’t make me smile and often laugh out loud.  Those eyes… Those big, brown eyes…  Gildon had the most expressive eyes, even until the end.  I often joked with my wife that he knew me better than anyone.  And, I knew him.  We spent nearly 24 hours a day together for almost a decade.  Although he couldn’t “speak,” the two of us shared a common language.

I won’t bore you with all of his exploits, but I think it’s important to highlight some of his accomplishments.  Gildon received two state awards for his work during his career and was nominated for several others.  He located 35 suspects on tracks and had countless other tracks to recover evidence.  His work led directly to hundreds of arrests while helping keep the officers safe he worked with daily. 

He loved to work.  He never called in sick and always came to work with a great attitude.  Even those few days I could tell he wasn’t quite himself, he always gave his best — and that was more than enough.  He appeared in many community demonstrations over the years.  As intense as he was while clearing a burglarized business, he was an equally big, lovable clown when entertaining a classroom of children-he always knew his audience. 

If you’re interested in reading some of my fondest memories of his calls for service, please click here.

Police K9s are so unique.  They do so much for a police department and its community, in so many ways.  They find people, whether tracking suspects in violent home invasions or locating loved ones (young or old) who may be vulnerable and missing.  They help take drug dealers, exploiting the addicted, off the street.  They are guardians and ambassadors all rolled into one.

I often think of Gildon and the times we shared.  It was such a unique experience, so difficult to put into words.  I hope I’ve been able to properly honor his memory.  Thank you, old friend. 

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