A warrior and best friend

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RALPH BARTHOLDT/Press Deputy Jason Shaw holds a photo of Bari, a Kootenai County Sheriff’s Office K-9 put down last month after being diagnosed with cancer.

COEUR d’ALENE — In his many deployments, Bari found his share of two-legged bad guys and loads of contraband.

Each of the patrol scenarios, sometimes as many as six per shift over a period that spanned almost a decade, were equally as important to the working dog.

Deputy Jason Shaw knows this.

“He had an amazing heart and soul,” Shaw said.

Bari, a Kootenai County sheriff’s canine, best known for tracking down police killer Jonathan Renfro, was euthanized April 20, after a bout with cancer.

As a K-9 handler, Shaw and his Dutch shepherd, Bari, made headlines over the years for the amount of drugs confiscated by the Kootenai County Sheriff’s Office, and for successful manhunts, but Bari’s biggest moment was a nationally recognized effort to find the man who shot Coeur d’Alene Police Sgt. Greg Moore.

In the early hours of May 5, 2015, Shaw and Bari and two Post Falls police officers walked into a dark area, lighted only by street lamps and distant, sallow store lights, to a tractor trailer parked in a lot of weeds and stones where Renfro hid.

After locating Renfro, as well as firearms and loaded magazines, Shaw and Bari searched neighboring fields and parking lots until additional items were found that became evidence in the trial in which Renfro was convicted and sentenced to death.

To make it happen, Bari worked hours on the rocky, brambled ground until his paws bled, Shaw recalled.

He didn’t let up.

Earlier this month, however, Shaw noticed Bari’s labored breathing. He took the four-legged officer to River City Animal Hospital, where veterinarians found the police canine had almost three dozen tumors growing inside his lean body.

The 12-year-old animal’s condition grew worse and Shaw had Bari put down while he was lying on the grass in his yard, by veterinarians who made their last home visit to the aging officer.

“They were extremely compassionate,” Shaw said.

Police placed a flag over Bari and had a small, funeral procession on Highway 41 as the dog was taken to be cremated.

Since then, Shaw has received condolences on social media, as well as hand-scribed cards from fans of Bari. A card came from as far away as Indiana, he said. He is grateful for each one.

Shaw, a Coeur d’Alene High School grad who attended North Idaho College and started at the Sheriff’s Office as a reserve in 1993, was a shoe-in for the job as K-9 officer. His family raised shepherds and Shaw competed in dog obedience competition while in high school.

He has been around a lot of stellar dogs, he said, but Bari had the sweet demeanor combined with the guts and determination that made him special, Shaw said.

“He was a warrior, and my best friend,” Shaw said.

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