A K9 Ranger Says Farewell
Beloved BLM K9, Gunner, answered the call of duty.
Last spring, Salem BLM Rangers Mike Roop, Phil Rheiner, and Adam Sulley approached a group of 120 people in the Molalla River Corridor. "As we approached this large group, people were very aware of Gunner and much more willing to comply. If you have a barking dog in your truck, people tend to do what you ask" said Roop.
In addition to patrolling the Salem District's public forests looking for marijuana gardens and special forest products theft, Roop, who was recently promoted to State Staff Ranger, and Gunner lent their expertise to a number of out-of-state events such as off-road vehicles at Dumont Dunes, California and the Glamis Sand Dunes east of San Diego, Burning Man in Nevada, and the annual Sturgis motorcycle rally in South Dakota.
"At these large events, Gunner and I focused on narcotics detection, crowd control, and officer safety," said Roop. "We also went on search warrants. At a site in Tacoma, Washington, Gunner kept high scenting (pointing his nose at the ceiling). When we climbed into the attic, we found 68 pounds of processed marijuana.
Gunner lived in his kennel at the Roop family home when he was not in the BLM ranger truck. Every Wednesday was training day - Roop and Gunner reviewed all they had learned in training and while working. Training was a fun-filled day where Gunner and Roop worked with eleven other K-9 Teams.
On December 27, 2008, Roop and Gunner drove to the Glamis Sand Dunes. Gunner became sick, and Roop took Gunner to a veterinarian in El Centro. The vet thought Gunner might be dehydrated and asked to keep him overnight. That evening when the vet checked on Gunner to change the IV, Gunner had died. An autopsy showed a cancerous tumor in his lower intestine.
Gunner was cremated in Palm Desert, and his ashes were sent home with Roop. Salem BLM employees plan to plant a tree and post a plaque in honor of their K9 Ranger. Gunner is greatly missed by Salem's Law Enforcement Program and all who knew him.