By Susan Vela
Lansing State Journal
Lansing K-9 handler Dennis Bunch struggled Friday to express the bond between him and Chili, the city's second police dog to die in the line of duty.
"Chili was like one of my children and my best friend and partner all in one," Bunch told more than 150 people, half of them fellow officers, during a memorial service in the police department's South Precinct gymnasium.
Chili, a 6-year-old black German shepherd, died Wednesday night after Bunch's patrol vehicle collided with another vehicle at the intersection of Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard and Willow Street. The crash is under investigation.
Bunch and Chili began tracking drugs, criminals and missing people together in September 2001. Chili lived with Bunch, watching TV by his side and sleeping in his room at night.
Bunch said he and Chili really clicked professionally once he realized the dog was smarter than he was.