Two of Antioch's finest -- and furriest -- have retired from the force.
Of the four K9 officers on the city's police force, two are leaving active duty.
The 11-year-old Thor and 7-year-old Sirt aptly packed away their badges on Independence Day.
"I'm upset about Thor retiring. He's an excellent police dog, and filling his shoes with a new dog will be a near impossible task," said human partner Matt Harger. "Thor is my hero without reservation."
Harger got Thor when the Belgian Malinois was a mere 6 weeks old.
After six years together, Officer Chris Valliere also said goodbye to his K9 partner, Sirt.
Sirt, a Czech German Shepherd, has undergone a couple surgeries during his job stint.
While a strong partner, "we decided it wasn't fair to him to keep him on the street," Valliere said. "We want him to enjoy retirement."
Both dogs will continue to live with their police officers.
Valliere has loved having Sirt. "We've conducted numerous demonstrations at schools and other city events. He is a very social dog. People were always amazed at how big he was but still so friendly.
"It's going to be hard without Sirt," he said. "I trust him with my life, but I look forward to watching him grow old at home."
Both four-legged officers have made a name for themselves.
Sirt tracked down an assailant, who left an officer paralyzed. "It is my proudest moment and saddest (memory)," Valliere said.
Nearly two years ago, Thor became a media darling after getting credit for saving a couple officers' lives.
"Thor charged into a house (with a) burglary suspect," Harger said. Unbeknown to all, the suspect was hiding with a "loaded gun waiting to shoot the first officer to come through."
Harger first sent in Thor, who was shot in the chest by the suspect.
"Even though Thor was (injured), he immediately engaged the suspect and held onto him without letting go during a continued gunfight until I and another officer were able to neutralize the threat.
"This is the utmost demand for a police dog, and that night, without a doubt, Thor saved (our lives.) There is no other story that can top that."
While both officers will miss their canine co-workers, both are ready to take on a new partnership.
Harger and Valliere enjoy the K9 life so much that they've decided to continue the arrangement.
"I'm looking forward to the challenges of working with a much younger and energetic 'rookie,' " Harger said.
Valliere's new partner is Ford, another Czech German Shepherd. Harger has been paired with Nino, a 3-year-old Belgian Malinois. Both are set to begin work this summer.
The officers said the bond between a handler and K9 partner is inexplicable.
While police partnerships are clearly important, that between a K9 and his officer take on a different dimension.
The police pooches live with their human companions. And, when off-duty, the furry champs mingle with their families.
The newly retired dogs will now be household pets.
Contact Trine Gallegos at firstname.lastname@example.org