Walker County Remembers K-9 Officer “Tanja” In Memorial Service

       At the end of her life, "Tanja" was doing what she was trained to do, put herself in harm’s way to protect her partner. And with that gave up her life so Deputy Donnie Brown could live to see his family again.
       Serving to the very end, officers say "Tanja" dragged herself down a hallway after her killer, 58 year old Steven Lee Waldemer before passing away.
       "She gave her life as an act of courage."
       That act, her final act, an officer killed in the line of duty protecting her partner.
       "It is just something you regret but she preserved at least Donnie’s life and maybe the life of other officers there that day, there’s no doubt about that," lamented Sheriff Steve Wilson.
       And for that, K-9 officer "Tanja" received a memorial befitting of her service.
       "Her life stood for something greater, something noble. We will never forget. Never forget her service, and the fact that she gave her life, and the fact that she gave the ultimate sacrifice. Many people will criticize us and say, ‘well she was just a canine.’ But she was so much more than that. She was a partner, she was a friend. She was a companion. She was a deputy sheriff," Wilson said.
       "Tanja" was the first one in harm’s way when deputies attempted to arrest 58 year old Steven Lee Waldemer. In an agonizing twist of fate, the department had just received a donation the same day that could have saved her life.
       "We received the check for the bullet proof vest the same day she died. We had already purchased the vest and were ready to push send, and buy it, and we got called out."
       One Chattanooga woman has made it her mission to make sure all K-9 officers have the protection they need. She says "Tanja’s" heart breaking story spurred others into action.
       "They don’t have that opportunity to say wait no, he’s got a knife or he’s got a gun. They go and they will go until they die," said Robin Scott, founder of Invest In K9.
        "Some people stepped up in areas I didn’t expect, like Bradley County. We had one individual step up and say we are not going to let that happen here.I wish more people would get involved."
        Help came too late for Tanja, but there’s hope other four legged crime fighters will benefit from her story.
        "We just really need to step up as a community and make sure that every single canine has a vest."

         If you would like to help K-9 officers get the life saving vests they need, check out InVEST In K9 on Facebook. Donations can also be made through any FSG Bank under InVEST In K9.

Categories: Local News, Walker County

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