Photos: Police K-9 Nacho retires from service ({{contentCtrl.commentsTotal}})

The East Prefecture of the Police and Border Guard Board (PPA) on Thursday celebrated the retirement of renowned K-9 Nacho, who, under the direction of his handler Raul Bamberg, saved several lives, discovered large quantities of narcotic substances, caught the perpetrators of several crimes as well as delighted children with his performances.

"Nacho is a dream dog," Bamberg said, describing his partner. "He is so smart, and we cooperated so well."

Nacho, whose real name is Mecberger Onni, is a Malinois who arrived in Estonia from Finland at two months old in spring 2012. According to Bamberg, the dog's first major professional victory came prior to his first birthday already, when he helped police officers find a large quantity of narcotic substances.

During his years of service, Nacho has saved four people's lives. He has also caught drunk drivers attempting to evade police and murder suspects, as well as found hidden narcotic substances and assisted colleagues in the Military Police and the Environmental Inspectorate. In 2018, Nacho was named Police K-9 of the Year.

"Raul and Nacho are an incredible team," said Police Maj. Tõnu Tänav. "Behind these incredible results is a great deal of ongoing efforts. The position of dog handler is one the most challenging. The dog is almost always with their handler, and the training of a good K-9 is a matter of ongoing education. A dog may possess the right instincts and a good nose from birth, but very many work hours go into raising a soft and cute furball into an equal partner and assistant to a handler."

At his retirement party, Nacho was presented with a token of appreciation, treats and a soft new dog bed.

"Nacho shouldn't get bored at home, because he has two more comrades in the family — two-year-old Mauser and five-year-old Tiissel," Bamberg said. "The younger boys are still working, but Nacho will be able to rest and play."

A total of 81 K-9s are currently serving in the PPA, including 45 German shepherds, 30 Belgian shepherds, a Russian spaniel, a flat-coated retriever and four English springer spaniels.

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Editor: Aili Vahtla

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