The Lincolnshire-Riverwoods Fire District announced their newest search and rescue canine, Koda, following the death of their last search and rescue canine in December.
Koda is from Warkonhaus German Shepherds in Pennsylvania, officials said.
“Sir Koda will have lots of work to do but he will be protecting the Village of Lincolnshire – Government and Riverwoods residents and visitors in no time!” the Lincolnshire-Riverwoods Fire Protection District said.
Koda is partnered with Lincolnshire-Riverwoods Fire Protection District Firefighter-Paramedic Michael Vitale, who was one of the founding members of the Canine and Drone Search and Rescue Strike Team.
That team is a multi-jurisdictional fire department team that responds throughout northern Illinois to assist agencies in locating lost or missing people.
“He will be a great addition to the Lincolnshire-Riverwoods Fire Protection District. Big paws to fill for this little guy, but we have high hopes for him,” the Canine and Drone Search and Rescue Strike Team said.
Vitale’s previous canine partner, Irie, died in December after being diagnosed with kidney failure.
Irie retired from the fire district with five years of service.
Irie was a “well-decorated” search dog that responded to over 40 requests for service, the fire district said.
She responded throughout the Chicago suburbs and located many people lost or in distress during her career.
Irie held many certifications in tracking, trailing, article search and obedience.
She was also a Type 1 disaster canine for the State of Illinois’s Urban Search and Rescue – Task Force 1.
Irie and Vitale trained all over the country and were able to help many people in need, the fire district said.
Family, firefighters, canine teams, police officers and others attended a final goodbye ceremony in early December at Vitale’s home in Johnsburg.
Irie was transferred into a mobile unit from Partners and Paws Veterinary Services, at which time a veterinarian put her to sleep.
“Thank you for your dedicated service Irie!! We will miss you! The squirrels have no clue what’s coming for them up there! Your LRFD brothers and sisters will be cheering for you!” the fire district said in a social media post.