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Staff at the Chelan County Jail has been in mourning for much of the past week, mourning the loss of their narcotics-detecting canine, K-9 Kait, who unexpectedly passed away last Tuesday.

A 7-year-old border collie, Kait had worked at the jail for two years as a key component of the jail's drug interdiction program. She had been recently diagnosed with chronic hepatitis of the liver. She had been undergoing treatment for about a week, but her health deteriorated quickly last Tuesday, and she passed with her handler, Corrections Deputy Jacob Lewis at her side.

In a statement on the Chelan County website, Lewis said, (quote): “Kait was my partner, my best friend and a member of my family. Anyone who met Kait quickly discovered her unconditional love. Kait did not have a mean bone in her body and accepted everyone she met. She tolerated me dressing her up for holidays and doing short TikTok videos. Kait was one-of-a-kind, and I know her absence will be felt by the entire community. Kait is irreplaceable, and I was extremely blessed to be partnered with such a beautiful soul.” (end quote)

Kait’s unique sniffing ability and training in the detection of six odors, including fentanyl, allowed her to assist with drug detection for federal agencies and, most recently, area high schools. In addition, Kait and Lewis were regular fixtures at local events and schools, serving as ambassadors for the jail.

The jail recently was exploring getting a second narcotics-detecting dog in partnership with the Washington State Department of Corrections, which would have worked beside Kait until her retirement. Lewis has been working with perspective dogs to ultimately find a replacement.

There was no word on whether a public memorial service was planned.

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