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K-9 Tovan is a red and black brindle Dutch Shepherd imported from the Netherlands born in October 2012. 

Retired K9 Tovan

When Deputy Dave Feyen’s partner, K9 deputy Arco, retired at the age of 10, Dave brought Arco home to spend his retirement with Dave’s family and he gained a new partner, K9 Tovan. When Dave brought him back from the Von Liche kennel, Tovan was a skinny dutch shepherd with worms and a spirited drive that was a challenge to Dave after having his previous partners Arco and Nikolai that were awesome but much easier to train. After a few months of bonding time, Dave and his new partner went through narcotics and patrol K9 academy to become a certified LCSO deputy. During patrol academy, Tovan loved the bite work so much he really never wanted to let go of the body part he was biting. His tail wagged incessantly because he was so happy to be doing this fun job of biting! Dave tried everything to be able to command Tovan to let go,  otherwise Tovan would not get certified. An expert from Denver was called in and stated that Tovan was the hardest dog he ever tried to train. They could not find his trigger to let go of the bite. Finally, Tovan saw one thing that came close to the euphoria he experienced during a bite – a ball. So the magic ball was the key to Tovan getting his certification and still enjoying both bitework and the magic ball.

Speaking of Tovan’s love for the ball, when Tovan was with the Feyen family up in Steamboat watching a football game on TV, Tovan never took his eyes off the football! Check out the video at the end of this story to see Tovan watching the game! The ball also worked great to keep Tovan looking at the camera when we were taking pictures – Dave gave Barb the ball and told her to stand behind the photographer and hold the ball up so Tovan would focus on it. It worked beautifully until Tovan thought the photo was done and made a dash to get the ball she was holding – as Dave screamed “THROW THE BALL, BARB – NOW!” 

Tovan was excellent at finding narcotics, tracking suspects and building searches during his active service. During one very violent call, a guy high on drugs tried to light himself and a building on fire. The fire crew sprayed him with retardant but he decided to jump off the deck
and run. Tovan was deployed to catch him and during this incident sustained a spinal injury at the age of four years old. After many medical procedures, acupuncture, stem cell replacement and physical therapy, it was decided that Tovan could no longer be in active service as a K9 deputy and must retire. In June of 2017, Tovan retired and went home to Dave’s ranch to spend the rest of his years barking at the birds, neighbors and patrolling the Feyen acreage along with Arco. Dave was first “K9 retirement senior center home” with two retired K9 deputies living at home with his family.

When a trained K9 retires at such a young age, it is extremely hard for him to mentally give up that alpha K9 training even though his body no longer can handle the demands. Dave was without an active partner for quite a few months before getting a new partner, Dox. During
those months, he would sometimes just have Tovan ride with him to let him feel like he was still on duty. Arco has since crossed the rainbow bridge, but Tovan continues to enjoy his retirement. And as the pictures of Tovan show, he is an amazingly handsome dutch shepherd at a healthy 65 lbs now with Dave and his family’s great care!