Running for man’s best friend

Running+for+man%27s+best+friend

Dave Scarnato, Sports Co-Editor

During the recent 5k-benefit race for the Scranton Police Department’s K9 Unit, members of the Old Forge Police Department gathered to honor one of their own.

Officers from the OFPD gathered on Wyoming Avenue awaiting the start of the race. This was not just a workout or competition for the officers; this race was in memory of a special member of their team.

Just last year, the OFPD lost a dear member of their department, their K9 unit dog, “Enzo.” Enzo served on the force since 2003, performing multiple tasks such as drug searches and criminal chases, as well as providing extra protection that any police dog would give to a police department.

When he passed away last year, his death had a heavy impact on the police force. Jason Dubernas,
Enzo’s handler took the dog’s passing especially hard.

“It was definitely the worst thing that I have ever gone through,” Dubernas said. “We were together 24/7, at home and in a police car for eight hours a day.”

During Enzo’s tenure as police dog for the borough, he and Dubernas were together constantly. Not only did they work together, the pair lived together, sharing a bond that most masters do with their dogs as pets.

“Once we were done with work, Enzo was such a different dog,” said Dubernas. “As soon as the vest came off, his work mode turned off and his dog mode turned on. He was a funny and goofy dog. He just loved playing and would act as a normal dog. He wasn’t as serious as he was with the vest on.”

Dubernas finished 147th in the 5k. To him, it wasn’t about winning the race, just running in the memory of his friend.

“He definitely kept me going throughout the race,” Dubernas said. “If he was here, he would have been running in it with me. He was there in spirit and definitely kept me going. To finish was a great accomplishment for a good cause. Enzo was close to the Scranton Police Department, occasionally having to assist them during crises.”

Jason didn’t care what he placed in the race; his pride was on his t-shirt.

On the front of the shirt was the Old Forge Police Department emblem. The back read, “In Memory of Enzo.” Under that slogan was a sentence, “End of watch,” with his date of death, Nov. 27, 2010.

The borough of Old Forge is a small town where everyone knows each other. So, in essence, everyone knew Enzo and what his job was: to serve. He was always out on the town at local community gatherings, occasionally performing police dog demonstrations to educate the community. He was truly a public figure for the residents of Old Forge.