June 22, 2018
By: Gina Browning, SPCA Chief Communications Officer
Today at 11:00 am on the SPCA Serving Erie County’s West Seneca site PawsWay, the SPCA will take a moment to memorialize a special dog who spent 6 years protecting the people of our community.
Cheektowaga K9 Wazi started working with Cheektowaga Police Department Officer and handler John Doskocz in August of 2011. Wazi was trained in narcotics detection and patrol utility dog functions, which included criminal apprehension, tracking, evidence recovery, and more. (Read Wazi’s full biography detailing his extensive, significant work here .)
Cheektowaga Police kindly allowed Wazi and Officer Doskocz to appear at many SPCA events, including Paws in the Park (see video of Wazi at Paws in the Park here) and, just last May, at our grand opening here in West Seneca.
Wazi’s impact was huge, not just on the children who watched him in action but on the adults as well; each year during Paws in the Park planning stages, the SPCA received phone calls from people wondering if Wazi would be appearing at the walk! In fact, many children and other young family members of staff and volunteers became Wazi “groupies,” sporting Wazi trading cards and watching him at various community appearances throughout the year. (Wazi’s final television appearance was on WIVB-TV and can be seen here.)
Wazi’s life was unexpectedly cut short due to an irreversible, inoperable, degenerative heart condition. He passed away while in Officer Doskocz’s arms in the early morning hours of June 23, 2017. (See the Cheektowaga Chronicle’s article on Wazi’s passing here.)
In his unique, brave way, Wazi taught our staff, volunteers, event participants, and everyone who saw him in action so much more about what dogs are truly capable of when it comes to the human/animal bond, something the SPCA is trying to further every single day. We are eternally grateful to the Cheektowaga Police, Officer Doskocz, and especially wonderful Wazi, for living a life dedicated to protecting the people he loved, and thousands more who would never be able to thank him.