SPRINGFIELD, Mo. — There was a severe storm the night after Greene County Sheriff’s Office K-9 Unit Lor arrived in Greene County, Missouri, after his trek from Czechoslovakia. Lor barked at the storm in an unfamiliar land incessantly — until James Craigmyle brought him some food and sat out in the rain with him until the early morning hours.
“From then on, we created this bond that was inseparable,” Craigmyle told Ozarks First.
Lor entered Former Greene County Deputy Craigmyle’s life in 2010, a year after he helped start the K-9 Unit for the sheriff’s office. For 12 weeks after Lor arrived, he and Craigmyle trained together to form a K-9 team. Lor went from knowing nothing to becoming a dual-purpose police dog that could hunt narcotics, find and take down suspects, find evidence, locate missing children and adults, and eventually find fame over the next decade.
“He just had an amazing history,” Craigmyle said. “And an amazing life.”
Craigmyle took a minute to collect himself after beginning to talk about how proud he was to be a part of Lor’s life.
Craigmyle started working for the Greene County Jail in 2004 until he could find a road position with a law enforcement agency. His path took him to the Battlefield Police Department and back to Greene County in 2008. The founding of the Greene County K-9 unit happened roughly around the time Lor was born.
Lor was a little over a year-and-a-half old when he joined the sheriff’s office. Typically, dogs join the K-9 Unit at two or three years old, so Lor was fairly young by comparison when he arrived. He was in the force until he retired in 2019.
Often, K-9 dogs don’t stay at the sheriff’s office or law enforcement agency where they work. They go to live with their handlers. That was the case with Lor and Craigmyle.
“Not all agencies are the same, but with our canines, they go home with you. They’re with you 24/7. The only time you ever get a break from them is when you go on vacation and another handler watches your dog,” Craigmyle said, laughing. “So, you’re literally with your partner more than you are your spouse or your children.”
He added that many handlers and trainers say that these K-9 dogs are tools.
“That may be so, but that tool also becomes a part of your family,” Craigmyle said.
During his career, Lor found some fame on a show called Live PD, which took him to New York City to film an episode. But Lor was maybe a bigger celebrity back home, especially with children.
“Lor loved to be loved on, but not held,” Craigmyle said. “I don’t know what it is, but he would always wiggle his way out of a hug. But he liked to be hugged, he loved to show people his Kong, interacting with kids.”
Craigmyle said that there’s always a little bit of nervousness that goes with bringing police dogs around children — especially dogs that are trained to bite like Lor was.
“But Lor just had that temperament about him to where he was able to flip it off like a light switch,” he said.
Lor became an ambassador of sorts with schools and hospitals. The dog would jump into bed with kids in hospitals. Craigmyle said that dogs are great for creating connections and bridges with the community. When it came to easing tension between the community and law enforcement, Lor was a greatly effective ambassador.
“I couldn’t be more proud of what he accomplished.”
Lor was 13 when he passed away of natural causes. He will be put to rest in a ceremony near the end of August.