“It is with a heavy heart that we share the sad news that Massachusetts State Police Explosive K9 “Chico,” the beloved German Shepherd partner of Massachusetts State Trooper Rob Gallant and a cherished member of the Gallant family, passed away suddenly on September 6 at the age of 10 years, 9 months.
Born in Germany on December 9, 2008, Chico spent his early years at Lackland Air Force Base in San Antonio, Texas, in the National Explosive Detection Canine Program. At age 3, he was assigned to MSP Trooper Mike Currier and began his career at Boston’s Logan International Airport as part of the Canine Explosives Detection Unit. When Trooper Currier retired, Chico was only 4 years old, too young to be retired, so he was reassigned to Trooper Gallant, who had already been an explosive detection canine handler at Logan since 2006.
Trooper Gallant worked with two dogs for several months of transition, working with his established partner, Barry, another explosive canine, while also training with Chico. This continued until Trooper Gallant and Chico were certified as a team and Barry retired after a full and devoted MSP career to live out his remaining days at home with the Gallant family. The two German Shepherds showed respect to one another and both had an incredible love for and loyalty for their handler, Trooper Gallant, which is the cornerstone of an excellent police canine team.
Chico had a wonderful personality and a youthful face, exuberance for life, and sparkle in his eyes that never failed to get the attention of Logan travelers, who would often ask if he was a puppy even when some grey fur on his muzzle would indicate otherwise. Along with his bright personality, Chico clearly had a great nose — all the makings of the perfect explosives detection canine that has to be comfortable around the public and in possession of a strong natural play drive since the serious work of seeking out explosives is not unlike a continuous game for the hard-working and devoted canines.
Trooper Gallant and Chico tirelessly worked the midnight shift throughout their career together. Like all explosive detection canines assigned to that important unit, their regular responsibilities included weekly rigorous training, checking the United States Postal Service mail nightly to ensure it contained nothing hazardous and responding to calls for unattended or suspicious bags. They worked tirelessly to protect everyday passengers and dignitaries alike.
In addition to their Logan duties, Trooper Gallant and Chico worked long hours protecting the public from explosive threats at such large-scale events as the annual 4th of July celebrations on the Esplanade, the Boston Marathon, and countless New England Patriots games at Gillette Stadium, as well as at the Flynn Cruise Terminal in the Seaport where cruise ships depart from Boston.
Chico was forever young at heart, which somehow makes his passing that much more difficult to fathom. He was completely devoted to Trooper Gallant, always enthusiastic to race to the truck and “go to work.” He was loved by Trooper Gallant’s wife and their three young adult children, who often joked about Chico’s somewhat “goofy” qualities and facial expressions — attributed that were, of course, truly endearing. When Chico would see Trooper Gallant’s daughters arriving from out-of-state at the airport, the only fear was that he might lie down for a belly scratch or otherwise be less than austere.
When he was off duty, Chico loved sharing family time in the yard, playing his version of dodge ball with Trooper Gallant, and — he especially loved this — sharing some sun in the yard with Trooper Gallant’s wife and kids, who would dote on him Chico with extra love and attention that he would eat right up.
While the term “good boy” is often used to describe our canine companions, working and otherwise, Chico was the epitome of a “good boy” and his presence will be terribly missed by Trooper Gallant, the entire Gallant family, the Massachusetts State Police family, and the K9 Law Enforcement community.
Please join us in remembering Massachusetts State Police K9 Chico with gratitude and respect for a job well done. Free time now Chico, for always. You have earned it, good boy.”-Massachusetts State Police.