This morning, August 23, 2010, at approximately 0900 hours, Sgt. Shane Partain said goodbye to his partner, Spike, an eleven-year-old Belgian Malinois. Spike retired some months back, but he was still very much a part of this Sheriff’s Office. Spike officially began his tour of duty with the Oconee County Sheriff’s Office on April 4, 2006. In that time, his efforts led to over 200 felony arrests and the seizure of over 300 pounds of marijuana, 10 pounds of cocaine, and trafficking amounts of methamphetamine and ecstasy. Spike’s reputation and reliability was such that neighboring counties would often call for his help, even counties that have their own canine units.
Spike was more than just a working dog though. According to Sgt. Partain, “He was my partner, and my best friend. Spike helped me in my mission to aggressively hunt the criminal element that wished to commit crimes against the citizens of Oconee County. ” Spike lived with the Partains and became very much a part of their family. He also accompanied Sgt. Partain to the schools in Oconee County in support of our CHAMPS program, much to the delight of the school children.
Sgt. Jay Higgins tells a story about Spike. He was in a foot chase of a suspect that was running from a traffic stop initiated by fallen Deputy David Gilstrap. Higgins says that he was running up a hill after the suspect when he felt something pushing him from behind. He turned to see what it was only to find Spike behind him nudging him up the hill.
I remember one night that we were chasing another individual that had run from a traffic stop. Partain went into the woods with Spike to try to find a track. I went into the woods in an attempt to circle around the fleeing suspect. Later, I heard footsteps coming through the woods towards me. It was Partain and Spike coming towards me. Spike saw me before Partain did and came bounding towards me through the tall grass and brush. I began calling his name hoping that he would recognize me, but he kept coming only to stop when he got to me so that he could get petted. He then went right back to work.
Sheriff Scott Berry said, “It was a hard decision for Partain to make. He and Spike captured many a bandit together. He was a good dog that served this Office well. In the end, his heart was still strong, but the rest of his body just couldn’t keep going.”
A memorial service will be held for Spike at the Sheriff’s Office this coming Friday, August 27, at 4:00PM. The public is invited to attend.