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Lauderdale County Sheriff’s Department says goodbye to ‘Rex’

A memorial service was held Wednesday to for K9 deputy Rex, who died from cancer.
A memorial service was held Wednesday to for K9 deputy Rex, who died from cancer.(WTOK)
Published: Jun. 22, 2022 at 6:22 PM CDT
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MERIDIAN, Miss. (WTOK) - A memorial service was held Wednesday as the Lauderdale County Sheriff’s Department said goodbye to a K9 deputy who died of cancer.

“Any failures that we had as a team were mine and mine alone, not his. But you know, he never got mad at that. He always came back for more,” said Lauderdale County Sheriff’s Department Sgt. Andy Matuszewski.

Matuszewski and his K9 partner, Rex, met for the first time in Kaplan, La., in 2009. Rex was trained for narcotics, article detection, tracking and apprehension of wanted fugitives, as well as handler protection.

They began their duties on the streets and highways of Lauderdale County after 4 weeks of training.

“What a great partner. Laughs at all my jokes. He never told off on me when I did something that I shouldn’t have done or said something I shouldn’t have said. You spend more time with a K9 partner than you do with your own family because you leave home in the morning or the evening, whenever your shift is, to go to work. You leave your family to go do those things. But you don’t leave your K9 partner. He’s with you the whole time,” said Matuszewski.

The Lauderdale County Board of Supervisors retired Rex to Matuszewski’s care in 2016 when Rex was about 9 years and 4 months old. Rex enjoyed being just another family pet with a history of dedicated and fearless service to the citizens of the East Mississippi.

“He just wasn’t a complainer. Never cried out and never showed any weakness or anything like that. He was just strong to the end,” said Matuszewski.

Rex was more than just a man’s best friend to Matuszewski; he was family.

“If I had to sum up what his life meant to me, he was the embodiment of what a life of service is supposed to be about. All he ever wanted to do was find a way to make me happy. And as a result, that made me stronger,” said Matuszewski.

Rex died of osteosarcoma in Matuszewski’s arms and crossed the Rainbow Bridge June 6. Matuszewski shares a memory of Rex that he will never forget.

“There were times when I was physically done. We would track for miles through the woods on things. His zeal and his drive to go would still be there even though you would think that there’s no way he could have anything left. I’m absolutely exhausted and he just looks at me like ‘what are we waiting for?’” said Matuszewski.

Rex was 40 days shy of his 15th birthday. He will be buried at the Matuszewski home.

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