Posted: Jun 1, 2013 4:33 PM by Erika Flores
Updated: Jun 1, 2013 5:47 PM
The dog park at Purple Heart Park in the Rita Ranch neighborhood is now named Ivan's Spot.
It's a permanent thank you to Ivan, a police dog who was killed on duty, his partner Officer Chris Fenoglio and family.
Ivan will be greeting dogs at the gate with his name, face and story.
Officer Chris Fenoglio lost Ivan while pursuing a carjacking suspect in December.
"He saved my backside that night," said Officer Fenoglio in an April interview with News 4 Tucson.
Ivan charged the suspect and bit his arm.
The suspect then shot Ivan in the shoulder.
"It touched us all. Everyone was affected by it throughout the entire department," said Sgt. Brad Pelton with Tucson police.
The Tucson Police Officer's Association and the community decided to memorialize Ivan by renaming the dog park at Purple Heart Park in his honor.
"It's very rare that we lose a dog in the line of duty. We've only had three ever in the history of our department, so it's just not something that happens often, and it's not often that you get the chance to set up a tribute and pay that kind of loss back," said Paul Sheldon, with the Tucson Police Officer's Association.
Sgt. Pelton said these canines aren't just partners but family.
"The bond is indescribable just like anybody else who has a pet. We get that normal bond, but we're with them so much. I see him more than I probably see the rest of my family," said Sgt. Pelton.
And now everyone will see that.
"They really are a part of our community," said Sgt. Pelton.
Ivan's bravery and devotion will now be on display for everyone to see in the Rita Ranch Neighborhood.
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