The Student Newspaper of Mississippi State University

The Reflector

The Student Newspaper of Mississippi State University

The Reflector

The Student Newspaper of Mississippi State University

The Reflector

MSUPD K-9 Bach celebrates retirement

Bach+served+MSU+by+sweeping+events+and+investigating+bomb+threats.
Courtesy Photo | Wesley Bunch

Bach served MSU by sweeping events and investigating bomb threats.

Bach, a former Mississippi State University police dog, celebrated his retirement last week after nine years of service.
Mississippi State Police Department’s Assistant Chief Brian Locke emphasized Bach’s long-time commitment to the job.
“That’s sixty-three years in dog years,” Locke said. “Six or seven years is the average career span of working dogs, so Bach has served longer than the average dog.”
According to a statement put out by the university, Bach, a Belgian Malinois, swept around 400 events on campus and responded to more than 40 bomb threats during his time as a member of the K-9 unit.
Bach’s celebrity status also originated from once standing too close to an ESPN microphone at an MSU home football game, causing him to be broadcast over live television. 
With such an illustrious and storied career, the police department refused to let Bach retire without fanfare, especially as first member of the K-9 unit to retire.
“It’s the first time we’ve retired a K-9 unit dog at Mississippi State,” Locke said. “We couldn’t just let him walk out, you know?”
The retirement party was attended by other working dogs — the MSUPD K-9 unit, several K-9s from the Starkville Police Department and Dak, the university’s current “Bully,” were in attendance.
“It was a lot of fun,” Locke said. “We gave the dogs little treats, and Wesley Bunch, Bach’s handler, even bought him a little tie to wear to the event. Everyone has a good time, I think.”
Bunch left MSUPD’s K-9 unit the same day, and the university transferred ownership to him. He now has private ownership of Bach.
“I was not Bach’s first handler, but I have had him since he was about three years old,” Bunch said. “He was born in Czechia where he learned his basic dog commands, such as sit and lay.  He came to the United States, where he learned his K9 activities in Little Rock, Arkansas. He even has a little doggy passport.” 
According to Bunch, wearing a tie to his retirement ceremony was not out of character for Bach.  
“Bach enjoys being dapper. Most people don’t know it, but someone along the way trained Bach to do this prance. If you have a toy and give him the right command, he will start prancing around. He looks really fancy when he does it,” Bunch said.  “He also frequently crosses his front paws when he lays down, which I think also makes him look dapper!”
Now that Bach is retired, he is on to new adventures. Working dogs are used to being very active, so Bach will be keeping busy.
“Bunch will keep him active,” Locke said. “Bach’s ten years old, but he’s used to working, so he’ll want to keep active.”
Bunch agreed, and went on to describe Bach’s favorite activities.
“Bach has a very energetic personality.  He’s extremely playful, but in his older age he’s starting to spend more time sleeping too.  He has a rope that he will bring up to you and he will start growling to get people to play tug with him.  He will also chase a ball for as long as someone will throw it for him,” Bunch said.
Bach’s favorite activity, however, is finding sticks.
“Bach entertains himself when he’s outside by going and finding sticks and then just carrying them around. Sometimes he will run away into the woods and come back with small trees,” Bunch said, laughing.
Bach’s service to Mississippi State University is appreciated by staff and students alike. He and Bunch will both be missed by their former colleagues, but they are off to new adventures, new games and new sticks to play with.

About the Contributor
Anne Louise Phillips, Staff Writer
Anne Louise Phillips is a sophomore English major. Anne Louise is currently a staff writer for The Reflector.
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The Student Newspaper of Mississippi State University
MSUPD K-9 Bach celebrates retirement