Sixty-pound, 9-year-old Dutch shepherd Clyde became Santa Ana Police Officer Ryan Shifflett’s partner five years ago.
And now, after 14 apprehensions, countless surrenders, and lots of roughhousing, Clyde is officially in retirement mode.
“He’s become a permanent fixture in my bedroom,” Shifflett said. “He lays at the foot of the bed. As soon as you let him in the house, he runs all the way to the back of the bedroom and lays right there.”
It’s some welcome R&R for a dog who has taken work mode quite seriously.
“He is 100 miles an hour all the time,” said Shifflett.
Clyde was almost four when they started working together. And Clyde has always been on the rambunctious side. Shifflett still remembers Clyde’s very first apprehension.
“Heard a struggle, and knew he found the bad guy,” Shifflett said. “Walked in and saw him, he was biting the guy, just having a great time, tail was wagging.”
Clyde’s enthusiasm for his work continued throughout the years. But not without some consequences. He has two broken canines, 12 missing teeth, cauliflower ears and has torn his Achilles tendon.
“He’s had a good run, but he hurts himself,” Shifflett said. “He beats himself up. ‘There’s a wall in my way, that’s OK, I’ll just run through it.’”
In fact, because of his injuries, Clyde was going to be retired in March 2020. But then Shifflett had his own injury.
“We were working and I ruptured my Achilles last March, so I was out half the year,” Shifflett said.
Clyde eased into retirement as Shifflett healed from his own injury. And while Shifflett is now back in the field with a new K9 partner, Clyde gets to enjoy his retirement with Shifflett’s yellow Labrador retriever, Titan, and his daughter’s Yorkie-poodle, Super Girl. He’s also adjusting to not being the working dog of the house as Shifflett’s new K9 partner, Kuno, has moved in.
Clyde still likes sitting in the patrol vehicle he used to ride in every day. One day he even snuck out to the garage and refused to leave until he could go into the car.
“I could not get Clyde back in the house,” Shifflett said. “He wanted to get into the car so bad. … He was not going to listen to me. In his mind, he was getting in this car. … As soon as I cracked the door a little bit, he nudged his way in there and [he and Kuno]both got in the car.”
There was a little competition on Clyde’s end, too, when Kuno became a member of the household. Shifflett said if they were in the yard together, Clyde would stay right by his side. And when he’d give Kuno commands, Clyde would respond to them as well.
“‘I’m so much better than [him]at this,’” Shifflett interpreted Clyde saying. “‘He doesn’t even know what he’s doing.’”
But as time has gone by, Clyde has settled into his role as retiree.
“Just a goofy, happy-go-lucky dog,” Shifflett said. “Full of energy.”