Police in Woodbury are mourning the sudden loss of Buster, their K-9 cadet who fell ill because of a sudden gastric ailment.
"Buster was in canine school and already showing great promise as a working dog," the nonprofit Woodbury K-9 Fund said in its announcement of the 22-month-old's passing Friday morning.
The death of Buster, a Belgian Malinois, was attributed to gastric dilation and volvulus, an often-fatal affliction in dogs in which the stomach becomes overstretched and rotated by excess gas.
His handler, officer James Stoffel, had been working with Buster since the locally bred dog joined the department in 2018 at 10 weeks old.
"K-9 Buster was loved by the department, the community and his handler," said the nonprofit, which purchases K-9s and helps fund training needs. "Our hearts go out to the PD, and mostly to Officer Stoffel who lost his partner and friend."
A Dairy Queen in Woodbury helped finance Buster's acquisition by the Police Department, along with his brother, Cirrus.
Stoffel and Buster began formal training early this year "and were well on their way honing Buster's police canine skills when tragedy struck," read a Police Department statement.
"There is an incredible bond between dog and handler," the statement continued. "With Buster it was even more so since several officers helped raise him from a young age."