AUGUSTA — The Maine Warden Service announced Friday, June 10, that K9 Duchess, a Dutch shepherd, was laid to rest peacefully at home earlier this week. Duchess served the Maine Warden Service with her handler, Game Warden Cpl. Michelle Merrifield, for 11 years.
In a press release, the Warden Service said that in March, Duchess experienced an unexplained medical issue with her liver and other organs and was also diagnosed with a slow growing sarcoma attached to her rib cage.
During her time with Merrifield and the Warden Service, they said Dutchess was responsible for locating numerous lost persons in the woods that included children, adults, persons with autism and special needs, several homicide victims and she located evidence associated with fish and wildlife crimes as well as assisting other agencies. Duchess located evidence associated with fish and wildlife crimes and other significant criminal cases.
Merrifield said, "...Duchess was a beautiful, graceful, gentle, and overall amazing working partner and she worked through significantly challenging and severe search conditions until her assignments were complete. Duchess' impact on me as a K9 handler is immeasurable. I am at peace with her passing and thankful for all that she gave."
Merrifield supervises the Maine Warden Service K9 Team, which is comprised of nine teams located across Maine. Merrifield, who lives in Union, is currently training a new Dutch shepherd named Piper.