A man recently donated four horses to the Dallas Police Department in memory of his late wife, who donated several to the department during her lifetime.
Robert Caruth, who owns more than 100 horses at his Caruth Arabians Ranch in Lone Oak, first fell in love with horses when he was 10.
His wife, Tracy, previously donated several horses to the police department. She died by suicide in 2013.
“Acute depression. A very underestimated disease. You don’t recognize it until it’s too damn late,” he told CBS News Texas.
On March 1, Caruth decided to donate four horses to the department’s mounted patrol unit, along with funding to cover the equipment they need, to honor his late wife.
“Continuing my wife’s work,” he said of his donation. One of the feistier horses is named T.C., his wife’s initials.
“These are beautiful animals. They’re majestic. I mean, they’re therapy,” Assistant Chief Reuben Ramirez told CBS News.
Ramirez said the department was grateful for the gift, and plans to add four new human officers to the department as well. The new horses still have a few months of training before deployment.
Officer Zachary Johnson, who works as the unit’s head trainer, loves working his equine partners.
“Best job in the department. Wouldn’t do anything else,” he said.
According to Johnson, unlike in some other agencies’ mounted units, the horses are used for more than just special events.
“We actually use our horses for everyday patrol, in answering 9-1-1 calls and just doing everyday police work,” he explained.
Caruth said horses can help build relationships between police and their communities. “They can go into neighborhood and children won’t run from police. They’ll run from a police car, but they won’t run from a police horse. They’ll want to pet the horse,” he said.
This was not the first donation of horses to the DPD this year. In February, the parents of fallen DPD Officer Mitchell Penton donated a horse to the department in his honor, named Walker after Penton’s favorite show, Walker, Texas Ranger.
Penton was killed after being hit by a drunk driver at the scene of a separate accident in 2021.
“Two years ago we lost Officer Mitchell Penton in the line of duty,” the department wrote in a Facebook post. “Meet Walker, a new Mounted Unit member, donated by the Penton family. Officer Penton’s legacy lives on within Dallas Police Department, through Walker, and the men and women of DPD. We will never forget his sacrifice.”