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Posted: July 19, 2014 6:20 p.m.

Newton’s first police dog has died

K9 Diva to be honored at memorial service Monday

Diva’s favorite place in the house was the cool floor in front of the fireplace, and her mom’s favorite picture of Diva is her doing just that.

Yes, Diva was a dog, but not just any dog. Especially to those who housed her and thought of her as more than a pet or an animal.

“She was our daughter. She was part of us. Everybody knew that she wasn’t just a dog. She was basically one of our children,” said Tiffany Cook, Diva’s owner and K9 mom.

K9 Diva, the first full-service K9 Newton County purchased, trained and maintained, passed away July 10, and a memorial will be given in her honor by We Ride To Provide Monday at 1 p.m. at the Newton County Sheriff's Office.
Cook, a dispatcher and supervisor at the Covington-Newton County 911 Communications Center, said she and her husband, Charles, a corporal with the Newton County Sheriff’s Office, started taking care of Diva in 2006 before retiring her in 2007. Cook said she was one of the few cadaver dogs in the state at the time.

Since her retirement, Diva has “been at home and a family pet, watchdog and guard dog for the house,” Cook said. “She really became attached to the kids. She’s been part of our family for seven years.”

Diva shared the Cook family’s home with another police dog, K9 Sam, and a family dog, Daisy. And they brought home a puppy Thursday, named Avida.

In 2007, Diva was pulled out of retirement to help solve a homicide case of Hwy. 212, and Diva’s efforts led to the arrest of Franklin Elliott Benson for the murder of Leslyan Williams.

“She was just such a good dog,” Cook said. “She never knew the life of a dog because she was treated like royalty. She was treated like a queen.”

The queen bee will be honored by We Ride To Provide, a non-profit that pays tribute to fallen police dogs in Georgia and raises money through an annual motorcycle ride to help law enforcement officers purchase equipment for their K9s.

Holly Cripps, of We Ride To Provide, said Diva, who has been cremated, will be transported from Paws, Whiskers & Wags in Covington to the Sheriff's Office, where there will be speakers and a slideshow.

“Diva,” Cripps said, “mattered to a lot of people.”

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