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  • Writer's pictureESSEX FREE PRESS

OPP Canine Maximus retires after incredible career


by Sylene Argent

Photo submitted

When Constable Milan Matovski started working with two-year-old Maximus – a Belgian Malinois/German Shepherd mix – in 2016, he knew his canine partner was quickly proving himself in the field.

Seven-and-a-half-years later, Maximus retired from his role of General Service Dog, after an incredible career with the Essex County OPP K9 Unit.

His years of exemplary service were celebrated at the Essex County Detachment on June 27.

Maximus “was one of the top performing dogs we have had,” Matovski said. That includes 204 locates. “That is incredible…he has located people that were lost and missing that would have died if he had not found them, from a two-year-old to a 90-year-old.”

Though Maximus has also found many criminals throughout his career, “the most rewarding part of my job is finding missing people and reuniting them with their family,” he said.

“We built a great bond together,” Matovski commented. “I spent more time with him than my kids. He spends all day at work with me, and then comes home with me. We couldn’t help but build a great bond.”

He described the relationship between himself and Maximus as one with “an unbreakable bond.” The career, he added, was very rewarding.

Maximus was the first dog Matovski handled with the OPP. Previously, he had helped train six other dogs.

“He is a very high-driven dog that wants to work,” Matovski said of Maximus. “He is very balanced. He knows when it’s time to work and when it is just hanging around the house.”

Believe it or not, dogs experience anxiety and stress from work, just like their handlers, he added. So, home needs to be a place where he could decompress.

Knowing Maximus is retiring is bitter-sweet for Matovski. He is experiencing mixed emotions in that he is happy Maximus is retiring as he is getting older, but he is also sad to see him hang up his leash.

Matovski has adopted his K9 companion and is looking forward to helping him adjust from work mode to a life of relaxation.

Matovski has been promoted to Patrol Sergeant and is looking forward to starting his new role.

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