Hondo, a K9 who served on the Salt Lake City police department, tragically lost his life after being shot in the sternum while officers were trying to apprehend a fugitive on February 13th.
Hondo was a 7-year-old Belgian Malinois who had been trained in Europe. He joined the Salt Lake City police force in 2015 and had been bravely serving his department ever since.
After he was shot, he was rushed to a nearby veterinary hospital, where he sadly passed away. The department wanted to do something special to honor his memory and service so they contacted a Utah automotive body shop, Rawtin Garage, who they had worked with in the past. They asked if they could create a customized coffin for Hondo. Of course, they said yes.
John Ward, who runs Rawtin Garage with his friend Keith Eccles, told CNN:
“They asked if we could get something together since we have done work on their motorcycles before.”
The request was the first of its kind for Rawtin Garage. They worked tirelessly to complete the special casket within the 24 hour time limit the department needed it to be finished in. Normally, there is a two-month waiting period.
The garage already had a relationship with the police department, having done some custom artwork on their motorcycles. In order to complete the casket on time, the team worked overnight to finish the tribute to Hondo.
“We had a lot of pressure. I think the call came in Wednesday night. And they said [they were] bringing in a casket tomorrow morning. It’s hard work, but there’s an incredible sense of satisfaction,’ Ward added to KSL-TV.
After finishing the beautiful casket, they shared in on their Facebook page. It was gorgeously painted and portrayed a beautiful portrait of Hondo, which was hand sketched by Eccles, while looking at a photo of the police dog.
“What an honor it was to paint a hero’s casket,” they wrote.
Eccles said: “In a weird way, it was kind of a spiritual experience. You feel like, by the time you’re done, you really got to know Hondo.”
The casket is truly a work of art and beautiful tribute to such a courageous K9. We extend our sympathies to the department for their loss of Hondo.
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