New­ton’s first po­lice dog has died

K9 Diva to be hon­ored at me­mo­rial ser­vice Mon­day

The Covington News - - LO­CAL - KAYLA ROBINS krobins@cov­

Diva’s fa­vorite place in the house was the cool floor in front of the fire­place, and her mom’s fa­vorite pic­ture of Diva is her do­ing just that.

Yes, Diva was a dog, but not just any dog. Es­pe­cially to those who housed her and thought of her as more than a pet or an an­i­mal.

“She was our daugh­ter. She was part of us. Ev­ery­body knew that she wasn’t just a dog. She was ba­si­cally one of our chil­dren,” said Tif­fany Cook, Diva’s owner and K9 mom.

K9 Diva, the first full-ser­vice K9 New­ton County pur­chased, trained and main­tained, passed away July 10, and a me­mo­rial will be given in her honor by We Ride To Pro­vide Mon­day at 1 p.m. at Grace Bap­tist Church in Por­terdale.

Cook, a dis­patcher and su­per­vi­sor at the Cov­ing­ton-New­ton County 911 Com­mu­ni­ca­tions Cen­ter, said she and her hus­band, Charles, a cor­po­ral with the New­ton County Sher­iff’s Of­fice, started tak­ing care of Diva in 2006 be­fore re­tir­ing her in 2007. Cook said she was one of the few ca­daver dogs in the state at the time.

Since her re­tire­ment, Diva has “been at home and a fam­ily pet, watch­dog and guard dog for the house,” Cook said. “She re­ally be­came at­tached to the kids. She’s been part of our fam­ily for seven years.”

Diva shared the Cook fam­ily’s home with an­other po­lice dog, K9 Sam, and a fam­ily dog, Daisy. And they brought home a puppy Thurs­day, named Avida.

In 2007, Diva was pulled out of re­tire­ment to help solve a homi­cide case of Hwy. 212, and Diva’s ef­forts led to the ar­rest of Franklin El­liott Ben­son for the mur­der of Leslyan Wil­liams.

“She was just such a good dog,” Cook said. “She never knew the life of a dog be­cause she was treated like roy­alty. She was treated like a queen.”

The queen bee will be hon­ored by We Ride To Pro­vide, a non-profit that pays trib­ute to fallen po­lice dogs in Ge­or­gia and raises money through an an­nual mo­tor­cy­cle ride to help law en­force­ment of­fi­cers pur­chase equip­ment for their K9s.

Holly Cripps, of We Ride To Pro­vide, said Diva, who has been cre­mated, will be transported from Paws, Whiskers & Wags in De­catur to the church, where there will be speak­ers and a slideshow.

“Diva,” Cripps said, “mat­tered to a lot of peo­ple.”

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