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Local family, PCSO bids farewell to retired K-9 | Community Spirit

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Local family, PCSO bids farewell to retired K-9
Local family, PCSO bids farewell to retired K-9

Polk County, Florida-- Polk County Sheriff's officials and a local family are mourning the loss of a very special retired K-9 this week. The K-9 was given the chance to serve in loving memory of a daughter whose every chance was taken from her years ago.

It's been a decade since the Digget family lost their daughter, Allison Sousa, in a tragic double-homicide. 

It was a difficult time for them, but it was because of strong support from Polk County and its law enforcement that they decided to honor her, and thank the community in a big way. 

The Diggets made an invaluble donation- $6,000 to purchase a dog to protect and serve as a part of the sheriff's office K-9 unit. They took part in selecting him, and even named him "Bolt" because of Allison's love for the Tampa Bay Lightning.

Bolt started his career and was trained as a canine by Sergeant Howard Martin. He then partnered with Deputy Sheriff Johnny Polston, and spent his last years with PCSO as a bomb detection dog with Deputy, now Sergeant, Joe Wilson. 

PCSO shares some of Bolt’s most notable accomplishments:

  • 31 non-contact apprehensions with handler Johnny Polston from May 2006 – December 2007
  • Bolt won the Exceptional Service Award from NAPWDA  (North American Police Work Dog Association) in 2007
  • Bolt detected a rocket launcher in a suspect’s vehicle in north Lakeland 

Upon Bolt’s retirement from service to PCSO three years ago, the Diggets took him in as their family pet. 

The family says Bolt was diagnosed with Canine Vestibular Disease last April, and that the disease, in combination with an arthritic spine and other health issues, made it very difficult for Bolt to function like he used to. 

The family says they decided to end his suffering, and they laid him to rest on February 16, 2013. 

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