Longtime Slidell Police Department dog dies _lowres

Photo provided by Slidell Police Department -- Chase, the 15-year-old retired K-9 who died Monday. ORG XMIT: 1SwOe24PLfM2swNKedZq

Chase, a dog that joined the Slidell Police Department in 2003, helped catch nearly 100 suspects in almost 10 years on the job, according to department spokesman Sgt. Daniel Seuzeneau, but the 15-year-old German shepherd succumbed to a spinal cord disorder Monday.

Chase, who retired from duty in 2013, suffered from degenerative myelopathy, a disease similar to ALS in humans. It causes loss of coordination in the limbs that progresses to paralysis.

Sgt. Chris Newman, who had been Chase’s handler, wrote a letter to his former partner, thanking the dog for always protecting him and reminiscing about their years together.

Chase continued to live with his former partner.

“As much as I knew you still wanted to work, physically it wasn’t in your best interest,” Newman wrote, noting that Chase always was more excited about going to work than his human counterpart.

“At first you didn’t know why I continued to go to work without you. After several weeks, you accepted your new role and enjoyed chasing squirrels in the back yard full time.”

Chase, who was born in Germany, arrived in Slidell in April 2003. He and Newman became a certified dog team the following month.

Newman said he was proud of the work they did together — apprehending 20 suspects, detecting illegal narcotics, assisting outside agencies and providing education and demonstrations to thousands of children and hundreds of adults.

“You were serious about your job and feared nothing, but you also knew how to just be a dog,” he wrote.

Follow Sara Pagones on Twitter, @spagonesadvocat.