Puskas, the hardworking Santa Ana Police K-9 who took down a violent parolee in 2018, has died, according to the Santa Ana Police Department.
The 12-year-old Dutch shepherd fell ill on Friday night and had to be rushed to the veterinarian, his owner said in a memorial post to Puska's Instagram account.
"The vet rushed Puskas into surgery without hesitation, but sadly, he did not survive," the post read. "There are no words to describe the pain my family and I are experiencing."
Puskas's brave confrontation with the parolee during a pursuit in 2018 allowed officers to make the arrest. It also resulted in the dog losing at least six teeth.
Puskas, named for a Hungarian soccer player, had to go into surgery for his jaw at VCA Yorba Regional Animal Hospital. He recovered, and the animal hospital awarded the dog a "purple heart" for his "selflessness and bravery through it all."
Puskas later returned to work with the Santa Ana Police department.
After 5 years of police service, Puskas retired in October of 2019. He had a resume of accolades at the time: deployed 100 times, apprehended 50 suspects and successfully completed more than a dozen takedowns.
"Puskas was one of the best police dogs out there, and we will miss him deeply," his handler and owner, Officer Luis Galeana, said in the Instagram post. "Thank you for your service, Puskas."
Puskas continued to live with Galeana in his 2.5-year retirement, right to the end.
"Thank you for always watching over my family when I'm away," Galeana said. "We love you and always will. RIP my Puskie."