K9 Hero, Huk, Retires After Getting Shot On Duty


In the city of Jacksonville, in Northeast Florida, a four-legged hero named Huk stands as a shining beacon of unwavering courage and loyalty. 

As a highly-trained and fearless police K9 officer, Huk has devoted his life to protecting and serving alongside his human partners. 

A K9’s job is often very dangerous and involves putting its own life at risk to save its partners and protect the community. 

July 22, 2022 was a tragic day for the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office because their beloved K9 member and partner, Huk, was shot three times in the line of duty. 

Jacksonville K9 Hero 

german shepherd dog in police car
Source: Facebook

Huk has worked successfully alongside his handler, Cheth Plaugher, since 2017, and he was a part of many important missions, including taking down a murder suspect and an armed hostage taker.

Last summer, Huk was sadly shot three times in the line of duty while chasing down three armed suspects after a car crash near the Jacksonville Zoo. 

This confrontation left Huk in critical condition, fighting for his life. 

With bullets in his neck, hind, and wrist, Huk was quickly airlifted to the First Coast Veterinary Emergency in Jacksonville Beach for emergency treatment. 

german shepherd dog lying on blankets
Source: Facebook

Soon after the surgery, the hospital posted an update for numerous followers who were praying for a speedy recovery of the furry officer: 

“Huk sustained 3 penetrating gunshot wounds; soft tissue injuries to the neck, hind end, and the carpus (wrist) with orthopedic injuries as well. One of his 3 wounds was able to be closed today. He will need multiple procedures as he recovers, but as of this evening, he is eating and resting comfortably on his pain medications.”

Everyone was delighted to hear that Huk survived, but he had a long road to recovery ahead of him. 

german shepherd dog with recovery collar lying down
Source: Facebook

Huk was making slight progress and was even able to go outside for a few minutes to enjoy some fresh air, but he did not like his cone-of-shame (E-collar), which you can clearly see in the picture above. 

His expression was priceless, but it had to be done since Huk had chewed at his bandage. 

Everyone at the hospital loved Huk and were doing everything in their power to make him feel better and give him lots of love. 

vet kissing german shepherd dog lying in his bed
Source: Facebook

“In the wee hours of the night, Huk cozied up to one of our nurses and slipped in a kiss! ❤️,” it said in the new update about Huk’s condition. 

“The nurses and doctors at First Coast Vet are known to give more than just medical care to their patients. They give them security and make them feel at home. They take time out of their busy day and night to snuggle them!” 

Despite everything he had been through, Huk was still in good spirits and was clearly surrounded by the best care possible. 

german shepherd dog with recovery collar and bandage on his leg lying on the grass
Source: Facebook

Thanks to Irondog K9 International, the non-profit organization that strives to empower law enforcement K9 teams, Huk has been able to receive all of the needed care for him to survive. 

This nonprofit has covered more than $20,000 of Huk’s medical bills, supported him all along his journey to recovery and will continue to do so in the future. 

Sadly, almost eight months after Huk was badly wounded, Huk had to have his left front leg amputated. 

The Irondog K9 non-profit posted on their Facebook profile, saying, “A lot has gone on behind the scenes trying to mend our hero Huk over the past several months. He has had 5 major surgeries, over 50 (YES 50!) procedures, hyperbaric chamber treatments, physical therapy, and more, all in hopes of a full recovery.” 

“Huk is a true warrior, and has been recovering from his amputation better than anyone could have imagined. He is already running around and playing and jumping in the pool, and is showing everyone how strong he truly is❣️ Huk is a 𝐓𝐑𝐔𝐄 𝐅𝐈𝐆𝐇𝐓𝐄𝐑 and his spirit remains 𝐔𝐍𝐁𝐑𝐎𝐊𝐄𝐍!”

After six years of service, this furry warrior and recipient of the Medal of Honor officially retired from the force in April 2023. 

His handler and partner, Deputy Plaugher, said, “from start to finish, this guy has been a true professional and tactician. It has been an absolute blast working with him, and we never had a bad day… If he could talk, he would have same great stories to tell!”

Huk will continue to live with and be cared for by the Plaugher family during his retirement. 

Enjoy your retirement, K9 Huk, it was well deserved. Thank you for your service!

police officer with german shepherd dog posing for photography
Source: Facebook