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Amherst mourns the loss of police comfort dog Winston, a month before his second birthday

"He was great at his job. Good looks, supreme confidence, and willing to saddle up whenever the bell rang."

Less than two years after joining the force, Amherst Police Department’s comfort dog Winston ended his watch Wednesday. 

“Late last week Winston fell ill and was diagnosed with Lymphoma. The plan was to enter this fight together as a family and department and to return him to what he loved doing, working and hanging out with friends and family,” his handler, Officer William Laramee, wrote on Instagram. “The diagnosis became much more dire today and knowing the life he loved was not going to be sustainable we made the decision to lay him to rest.”

Winston had been working in Amherst since September 2020, when he was donated to the police department by Boonefield Labradors in Rindge, New Hampshire.

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“It started as a vision, became a conversation, and so it became the Amherst police comfort dog program. He was great at his job. Good looks, supreme confidence, and willing to saddle up whenever the bell rang,” Laramee wrote. “He will be deeply missed by his brothers and sisters @amherstpolicema and the many communities he visited.”

The  chocolate English Labrador retriever would have turned 2 next month, according to the Daily Hampshire Gazette.

Winston has accompanied Laramee almost everywhere he has gone since September 2020, including school visits, speaking to college students, or community events. 

“He’s a huge asset to the work I do, but a bigger asset to the department,” Laramee said last December, according to the Gazette. “Winston is able to do work that I’m not able to — he helps break the ice, he’s definitely good at breaking down barriers.” 

Laramee wrote on Instagram that the department hopes to hold a memorial for Winston in the future, but no details are yet available. 

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