Cobb Sheriff’s Office holds memorial service for K-9 Athos, who died of cancer

K-9 AthosK-9 Athos (photo provided by the Cobb County Sheriff's Office)

The Cobb County Sheriff’s Office distributed the following public information release about the memorial service for K-9 Athos:

The life and service of a beloved canine with the Cobb County Sheriff’s Office was memorialized during a service at the Cobb Senior Services Building, Tuesday, Aug. 15.  

Photo courtesy of the Cobb County Sheriff’s Office

K-9 Athos succumbed to complications from cancer and passed away on July 18, 2023. He was 7 years old. 

Deputy Anita Lucas-Dykstra, partner and handler of K-9 Athos said, “We built our bond on trust and a deep emotional connection. Athos was more than my partner; he was my best friend and my family. He was the nose and eyes that I didn’t have. He had an incredible sense of smell that was used several times to help find people.” 

Photo courtesy of the Cobb County Sheriff’s Office

Athos joined the sheriff’s office in December 2017 and was the first German Shepherd in the K-9 unit. 

During Athos’ career, he is credited with locating several people and articles of evidence. Some of his more notable tracks included locating a missing 10-year-old autistic boy who ran away from home this past June. 

When Lucas-Dykstra and Athos received the call, Athos was able to find the boy hiding in the bushes within ten minutes. On another callout, Athos located a 15-year-old boy, who had made threats of suicide. He was able to locate the boy in the woods near his high school just by smelling his bicycle seat. The boy was unharmed and was able to receive further medical treatment.

“K-9 Athos was a beloved deputy of the Cobb County Sheriff’s Office,” said Col. Ryan Mehling, commander of the Uniformed Operations Division at the Cobb Sheriff’s Office. “He touched many people’s lives through his work and attendance at community events. It was an honor to have K-9 Athos serve with us here at Cobb County Sheriff’s Office. He will be missed by us all.” 

Photo courtesy of the Cobb County Sheriff’s Office

If you are interested in donating towards the Cobb Sheriff’s K-9 monument that will honor all past Cobb Sheriff K-9s who have served, visit and donate to the Care, Compassion, Fallen fund. 

The Cobb Sheriff’s Foundation, Inc. is an independent, tax-exempt, 501(c)3 organization for the Cobb County Sheriff’s Office. 

About the Sheriff’s Office K-9 Unit

According to the Cobb County Sheriff’s Office website:

“The Sheriff’s Office maintains canines of various disciplines including narcotics detection, explosives detection, tracking, and apprehension.

“The canines are utilized by specially trained and certified handlers. Our canines are responsible for weekly sweeps of the Judicial Complex for explosives, Braves games and stadium security.

“The K-9 unit routinely assist other agencies both inside and out of Cobb County with tracking of missing or lost persons.”