Dayton police gather for private memorial service honoring K9 Phantom

Dayton Police Department Canine Unit is having a private memorial gathering to honor K9 Phantom, who died recently after nearly 8 years of service.

A veterinarian said that the 9-year-old dog most likely had a blood clot that had worked its way into his brain, according to police.

>> PHOTOS: Officers pay respect to K9 Phantom

He died suddenly while on duty on June 6.

“Phantom was a fantastic partner, wonderful, fun, loving and loyal,” said officer Rob Cleaver, Phantom’s handler. “He and I responded to more than 1,700 canine calls in our time together. He loved to come to work, every day.”

Cleaver was on his way home with Phantom to give the dog a break when Phantom collapsed in the back of a cruiser.

The officer took him to an emergency vet clinic where staff worked on Phantom for 20 minutes, but were unable to save him.

>> RELATED: Dayton police’s longest-serving K9 dies suddenly on duty

“Phantom helped catch suspects and locate drugs, guns and ill-gotten money in order to take them off the streets,” Cleaver said. “Over the years, we found lost children or adults who’d wandered away from the safety of their homes. During his career, Phantom found or located evidence that was vital to cases. All he ever asked for was a toy to play with in return for his efforts. “

Cleaver has been a K9 handler for more than 20 years. Phantom was his third partner.

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