Staff Photo: John Bohn Gwinnett County Police Department Cpl. Mike Waddell, right , his wife Ruth and daughter Nikki, 13, watch over the casket of Cpl. Waddell's K-9 partner Caleb, during a funeral service for Caleb, Thursday, at Oak Rest Pet Gardens in Dacula. Caleb was partnered with Cpl. Mike Waddell, serving for over 9 years. Caleb was born May 25, 2002 in the Netherlands. At left are Jerry Bodenhamer and Wanda Sessions holding their dog Ozzie.
As Caleb, a Gwinnett County police K-9 officer, and human partner Cpl. Mike Waddell, patrolled the woods that night, the later heard a sound he'll never forget.
"I've never heard someone scream like that in my entire life," Waddell said Thursday with a chuckle. "It was this God-awful noise this man was making."
The perp was caught, and Caleb -- the hard-working, stubborn German shepherd covered with mostly-black hair -- had done another fine job.
"He was a hard-headed little dog," Waddell said, "but very loving, very nice, and loved to catch bad guys."
Caleb, a nine-year veteran of the police force, was laid to rest in the Garden of Honor at Dacula's Oak Rest Pet Gardens Thursday afternoon. Over the years, he made "hundreds" of drug and patrol arrests, and made a healthy contribution to the department's drug seizure fund, Waddell said.
He retired from the force last March, and spent a year of the good life at home with the Waddells.
Officer John Bailey spoke a few words about the K-9 at Thursday's ceremony, which included a 10-motorcycle motorcade, a police honor guard and an American flag draped over Caleb's casket.
"Although stubborn at times, Caleb made a great police dog," Bailey said. "It is without question that he made Gwinnett County a safer place to be."
Caleb was born in the Netherlands in 2002, and landed at the Gwinnett County Police Department with no prior training. Waddell took care of that, and gained a friend in the process.
"I spent more time with him than I did my family," Waddell said "He was constantly by my side."