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Dog of the Day

Thor Saves Lives

By Carie Broecker


Thor is a serious name for a serious-looking German Shepherd. Thor works for the Shasta County Sheriff’s office and has since March 2013.  He was bred and trained for this work, and he is good at it. Thor is cross-trained, not only to protect his partner, Deputy Thomas Fleming, but also to track suspects and locate hidden narcotics. Thor and the other K-9 teams in eastern Shasta County are greatly appreciated by the community and are an essential asset when crime fighting takes the K-9 teams to remote locations.

Underneath Thor’s stern exterior, which can convince a suspect to give himself up by Thor’s mere presence, is a sweet, affectionate dog who thrives on giving and getting attention from the “good guys.”

He loves to lie across Deputy Fleming’s lap for lots of pets and belly rubs. He is a member of the Fleming family and especially loves playing with the deputy’s children.

Thor recently captured an arson suspect in Cottonwood, California. On Thursday, June 12, firefighters and the sheriff’s department were called to the scene of several fires. As soon as the firefighters put one fire out, they would be called further down the road for another fire and then another.

All in all, the suspected arsonist started three fires and attempted to ignite a fourth. Witnesses had given a description of someone seen walking away from two of the fires. K-9 Thor and Deputy Fleming were on site. With leads from eyewitnesses, Thor tracked the suspect and caught up with him down a gravel road about half-mile from a house that was on fire.

Firefighters worked to get the blaze under control. They were able to pull three canines from the house just before it went up in flames, saving their lives. Although Thor enjoys his time off when he gets to play fetch and gets pets, I’m sure he was proud to be part of the team that saved the lives of three fellow canines.


Did Thor rest on his laurels after that? No. The next day Thor and Deputy Fleming were called to the scene of a robbery in progress. The suspect fled and Thor tracked him. They were able to recover $650 worth of stolen property, but the suspect was not found. I’m quite sure it is only a matter of time before Thor or another of the sheriff’s K-9s track him down as well.

Thor is new on the job and the work he has done is already impressive. He has big paws to fill since he replaced a K-9 legend, Maximus, who is one of the most successful K-9s in Shasta County history. Over the course of his career, Maximus was responsible for the seizure of over 2,700 pounds of illegal drugs, including marijuana, cocaine, heroin, hashish, and methamphetamine. He also helped seize over 8.7 million dollars in U.S. currency. Max is the only K-9 in Shasta County history to receive a purple heart. He earned his medal after being stabbed in the head six times by an attempted murder suspect. Even after being stabbed, Max still apprehended the perpetrator.

Shasta was able to bring Max and Thor and all the Shasta County Sheriff’s K-9s on their team with the support of Friends of Shasta County K-9s, a nonprofit organization that raises funds to support the law enforcement efforts of the Shasta County Sheriff's K-9 Team.

Here’s to a safe and successful career for Thor and all his colleagues, two-legged and four-legged, across the country.


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