WAXAHACHIE

Although Waxahachie Police K9 Cross is gone, his family at the department have ensured his legacy will carry on. A headstone dedicated to the late police dog now rests in front of the Waxahachie Police Department to serve as a constant reminder of all of his sacrifices to the Waxahachie community.

K9 Cross was a Belgian Malinois mix dual-trained in both narcotics detection and apprehension that worked with Waxahachie Police Cpl. Chance Huckabee in the field for seven years. According to a previous Daily Light story, Cross was taken into a local veterinarian on March 25 when a lump was discovered on his side.

A medical examination revealed that Cross had an advanced stage of cancer that had spread beyond treatment. He was laid to rest to end his suffering.

Cross set to retire next year and live out the rest of his life with the Huckabee family at home.

“He was the best partner that I could have,” Huckabee tearfully said. “He went to work with me for seven years. I talked to him, and he’d talk back sometimes. He’d talk to you too if you passed the car - say ‘Hi’ to y’all and everything.”

A memorial service for Cross was held 4 p.m. Monday outside of the department. Several members of the public and the first responders were in attendance in remembrance of Cross, including Huckabee and his family.

Huckabee remembered the day Cross was assigned as his partner seven years ago. He recalled being excited to have his own police dog – and maybe, setting his expectations a little too high.

“I thought it was the coolest thing - I got to bring home this highly trained dog,” Huckabee recalled. “I call my wife, she meets us in the backyard and this dog is running all around – this ‘highly trained’ dog. I start giving him commands and he’s like ‘Nope! I’m not listening to you.’ I think after that ‘Oh God, what have I gotten myself into.’”

Huckabee recalled that discipline was an issue for a while with Cross. He even remembered one time where he went to the park with Cross and he took him off of the leash to play fetch with him.

“We chased that dog around three softball parks,” Huckabee chuckled.

But over the years, their partnership grew and they began to trust each other more and more.

In Huckabee’s own words, they became a team – they became a family.

“He would have done anything for any of y’all,” Huckabee remarked. “Y’all don’t realize that. That dog would have went into any situation for anyone – just like he would have for me.”

Waxahachie Police Chief Wade Goolsby delivered the closing remarks, focusing on Cross and his service. Goolsby stated that Cross was much more than a partner and an officer to the department – he was family.

“Cross had the unusual ability where he could go from a school with elementary kids petting him and pulling on his ears, and immediately go into work tracking down a criminal,” Goolsby remarked. “He could turn that off and on, and that’s really special and unique. You don’t find that in many police dogs. “

But he didn’t just commend Cross’ personality – he also paid tribute to his service. In the seven years that Cross worked for the department, Goolsby stated that Cross was deployed 290 times – and he had over a 90 percent reliability rate.

“I wish I had 100 Crosses,” Goolsby remarked. “He loved coming to work. He never had a bad day. He never once complained about the weather, about it being hot, about it being cold, about it being wet. He never even complained about Chance after spending 12 hours cooped up in a car with him – and I don’t know anybody that can do that other than Cross! He was happy.”

“He worked every day,” Goolsby continued. “But the beauty of that was he never really worked a day in his life. Whether it was going into a dangerous situation, whether it was dealing with kids, whether it was being at home - it was all just play to him. How nice would that be for all of us to think we don’t work? We go to play.”

Goolsby stated even though Cross is gone, the Waxahachie Police K9 program would go on. He remarked that a new K9, Hondo, recently started with Waxahachie Police officer Derek Behringer, and the department is currently raising funds for another K9 to join the team.

But Goolsby clarified that even though they will get a new dog, no K9 could ever replace what Cross brought to the department.

“He was one of a kind,” Goolsby concluded. “He was truly special.”

To donate for the department’s new K9, go online at www.gofundme.com/waxahachie-police-k9-program.