Amazing Gracie: Police Dog Loses Battle With Cancer

Dying Alexandria Police Dog Gracie

For half a decade, Gracie protected Alexandria as the police department's first female police dog -- and was eager to continue work even after a diagnosis of kidney cancer.

But the 8-year-old German shepherd known as "Amazing Gracie" lost her fight Wednesday.

Many people had been touched by Gracie's spirit, including a local artist who painted two special tributes to the dog.

"It just broke my heart that Gracie is that vital, and wants to keep working, yet she's got that diagnosis of cancer," said Jason Swain, of Montgomery County, earlier this year.

Swain painted Gracie in two poses. In both, Gracie's ears are up and alert, eyes bright and tongue out -- eager for an assignment. He presented his work to Gracie and her human partner, Steve Escobar, in March.

Escobar loved the work that went into the painting, and said Gracie seemed to like the attention.

"I appreciate everybody," said Escobar. "All the outpouring from the community -- everybody's been calling, leaving messages."

Gracie's work included patrol duty and bomb-sniffing assignments. Among her final tasks, she trained a younger K-9 to do her work.

But Escobar said no one will replace Gracie.

"We love our dogs," he told News4 earlier this year. "We take them home with us. They are part of the family."

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