The Tri-Valley law enforcement community is mourning the loss of one of its own, as San Ramon Police Department K-9 officer Hector succumbed to cancer on Dec. 9 hours after an emotional final procession through the city.
A 7-year-old German shepherd who joined the department in 2012, Hector was born and raised in Germany before being purchased by SRPD. He worked alongside human handler Officer Allen Molien serving the community in numerous roles, including assisting in searches and other police tasks and participating in public engagement events for the city.
"I can truly say without a doubt that I was blessed to have had the opportunity to work with such a talented partner who never ceased to amaze me with his work ability and personality," Molien told the Pleasanton Weekly on Monday. "He will be missed not only by me, but to the community we served."
"Hector touched the hearts of everybody he met and left lasting memories," Molien added. "Hector is gone, but his memory will live on with all those lives he touched as a remarkable ambassador for San Ramon Police Department and its K-9 Unit."
Hector and Molien were among the Tri-Valley K-9 police units profiled in the Weekly's July 12 cover story, "Serving their community."
It was during that same week Hector underwent emergency surgery for internal bleeding after experiencing discomfort. A week later he was diagnosed with hemangiosarcoma cancer, a common form of canine cancer.
Hector had missed time in recent months undergoing chemotherapy but had been back on the job for about a month when, in the last few days before his death, the cancer "just came back with a vengeance," police Capt. Denton Carlson said. "We were told that might be the way it would happen."
With Hector increasingly in pain, plans were made quickly for a procession to honor him, Carlson said. Molien and Hector arrived at the south edge of the city at about 11 a.m. Dec. 9 and from there the procession went north up San Ramon Valley Boulevard to Bollinger Canyon Road, and then east to a veterinary clinic where Hector was put down.
"From day one all the way to the end we were inseparable," Molien said of Hector, who lived with the Molien family during his tenure. "I knew from that (final diagnosis) till his last breath we would not leave each other's side. That weekend Hector went everywhere with me including shopping at Costco. Till his final day, we spent every possible minute together."