SPRINGFIELD, Mo. — The night after the Greene County Sheriff’s K-9 Unit Lor arrived in Greene County, Missouri, from his trek from Czechoslovakia, there was a severe storm. Lor barked non-stop at the storm in an unfamiliar land – until James Craigmyle brought him some food and sat with him in the rain until the wee hours.
“From there, we created this inseparable bond,” Craigmyle told Ozarks First.
Lor entered the life of former Greene County Deputy Rep. Craigmyle in 2010, a year after he helped establish the K-9 unit for the sheriff’s office. After Lor’s arrival, he and Craigmyle trained together for 12 weeks to form a K-9 team. Lor went from ignorant to a dual-purpose police dog capable of hunting narcotics, finding and bringing down suspects, finding evidence, locating missing children and adults, and eventually finding fame over the next decade.
“He just had an amazing story,” Craigmyle said. “And an amazing life.”
Craigmyle took a minute to collect himself after he started talking about how proud he was to be a part of Lor’s life.
Craigmyle began working for the Greene County Jail in 2004 until he was able to find a job with a law enforcement agency. His path took him to the Battlefield Police Department in 2008 and back to Greene County. The formation of the Greene County K-9 unit happened around the time Lor was born.
Lor was a little over a year and a half when he walked into the sheriff’s office. Usually, dogs come to K-9 unit at the age of two or three years, so Lor was comparatively young when he arrived. He served until his retirement in 2019.
Oftentimes, K-9 dogs don’t stay in the sheriff’s office or law enforcement agency where they work. They live with their caregivers. That was the case with Lor and Craigmyle.
“Not all agencies are the same, but our dogs will go home with you. They are with you 24/7. The only time you ever get a break from them is when you go on holiday and you have another handler looking after your dog,” Craigmyle said, laughing. “So you’re literally more with your partner than you are with your spouse or your kids.”
He added that many handlers and trainers say these K-9 dogs are tools.
“That may be so, but this tool will also become a part of your family,” Craigmyle said.
During his career, Lor rose to fame on a show called Live PD, which took him to New York City to film an episode. But Lor was perhaps a bigger celebrity at home, especially with children.
“Lor loved to be loved but not held,” Craigmyle said. “I don’t know what it is, but he always wobbled out of a hug. But he loved hugs, he loved showing people his Kong and interacting with kids.”
Craigmyle said there’s always a bit of nervousness about bringing police dogs around children – especially dogs that are trained to bite like Lor.
“But Lor just had this temper about him where he could turn it off like a light switch,” he said.
Lor became a kind of ambassador for schools and hospitals. The dog jumped into bed with children in hospitals. Craigmyle said dogs are great for creating connections and bridges with the community. When it came to defusing tensions between the community and law enforcement, Lor was an extremely effective ambassador.
“I couldn’t be prouder of what he has achieved.”
Lor was 13 when he died of natural causes. He will be buried in a ceremony at the end of August.