A former Ohio county sheriff and his longtime companion, a small Chihuahua-rat terrier mix K-9, passed away hours apart from each other.
The retired Geauga County Sheriff Dan McClelland, 67, died in the hospital from cancer, while his tiny partner Midge passed at home, apparently of a broken heart.
According to an AP News report, McClelland spent 13 years as a sheriff, and 44 years in total at the sheriff’s office in the semi-rural county east of Cleveland. He spent a decade with his drug-sniffing K-9 partner Midge, the smallest police dog on record as certified by the Guinness Book of World Records in 2006.
Midge gained popularity throughout the county, and would travel alongside McClellan everywhere he went. At the office, she slept on a dog bed next to his desk.
McClellan’s successor Sheriff Scott Hildenbrand recalled that Midge was the main attraction at the Great Geauga County Fair, when he and McClellan were driving a golf cart with Midge in the passenger’s seat. He said it was a slow ride with everyone chasing after the car wanting to pet the dog.
“He used to joke that people would see him in a parade in a car and would say, ‘Hey, there’s Midge and whatshisname,'” Hildenbrand said. “I think she was more popular than him.”
Midge was different than most police K-9s. She was mild-mannered and could search vehicles without tearing the upholstery or tracking mud in the car. With her diminutive stature, she could easily fit into nooks and crannies.
McClellan and Midge’s partnership was even picked up on by daytime television shows where they would appear together, and even received a mention in Playboy magazine.
The two eventually retired together to drive around the country, with McClellan’s wife Beverly of course. Hildenbrand was surprised by the decision.
“He spent 44 years protecting people in this county and, quite frankly, he loved his job, every minute of it,” Hildenbrand said. “I thought he’d never retire.
Retired Lt. John Hiscox said of McClellan’s fine leadership qualities: “He was fair and was not afraid to make a decision. He was always willing to listen, but when he made a decision, it was final.”
Even in death, the two are inseparable. McClelland and Midge will be buried together, according to the family.