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Famous police dog dies three weeks into retirement

Police dog Dakota - who appeared on the Dog Squad TV series - has died just three weeks into her retirement.

Police dog Dakota died on 1 February. Source: rnz.co.nz

In a Facebook post titled 'Farewell to a favourite floof', police said Dakota died last night, just three weeks into her retirement from Wellington Police Dog Section.

The seven-year-old German Shepherd worked in Wellington from April 2015 to January this year, mostly with handler Stu Rota.

The pair appeared on four Dog Squad TV series, and police said she was also a famous Police Dog Trust Calendar girl.

Sergeant Rota moved to Gisborne and for the past 12 months she worked with Senior Constable Sam Bennett.

After retiring three weeks ago she moved to Gisborne to live with Rota, for what police said was supposed to be a "happy retirement".

"Sadly, that came to an end on Friday when Dakota became very unwell, was taken to the vets and died last night," the Facebook post said.

"She had been diagnosed with Addison's disease several years ago but this was managed with medication and it didn't stop her from leading a very active operational patrol dog life.

"Whether her condition shortened her retirement is not yet clear, but we do know she enjoyed being reunited with her old partner."

Rota said he was gutted she was gone.

"She loved every minute being at home, her daily walks along the beach, and hanging out with us. We'll all miss her."

The pair finished seventh in the 2018 Police Dog National Championships, and Dakota tracked and made hundreds of catches over the years.

She also wowed crowds at the Wings Over Wairarapa when she was winched from a RNZAF NH90 helicopter and was used to travelling by boat as part of her training in responding to armed incidents.

rnz.co.nz