WESTERVILLE, Ohio (WCMH) – A city council in Ohio voted to retire the K-9 partner of a fallen officer and give him a new job: being a part of the officer’s family.

Sam will spend the rest of his days with the family of Officer Eric Joering, bringing them comfort after the loss of their father and husband. Joering was one of two officers shot and killed while responding to a domestic violence call in February in Westerville, Ohio.

Besides getting to take Sam home, Otterbein University also had something to give the Joering family.

“As a community, Otterbein University would like to recognize Eric’s heroism and courage by offering support that we hope will provide some long-term security and support for your family,” said Otterbein University chief of staff Kristy Robbins. In yet another examples of being #WestervilleStrong, Otterbein University announced they will provide free tuition to the Joering girls.

“We hope this commitment of Otterbein support dedicated to your daughter’s pursuit of a college degree will provide some reassurance for you in the years ahead as they prepare to pursue their life’s ambitions,” Robbins said.

Otterbein Police Chief Larry Banaszak then spoke directly to the Joering family, explaining how their dad has helped train the university’s new police department.

“He’s our hero and I want you all to know that, again from the bottom of hearts, our thoughts and prayers with you,” he said.

Soon after, K-9 Sam was brought into the city council chambers. Without any hesitation, the motion quickly passed. K-9 Sam was then handed off to one of the Joering girls, who walked him out of city hall.

“We understood that this would be an opportunity to help with the healing process for the Joering family to enable Sam to be able to return to them for their companionship,” said city manager David Collinsworth.

Storm Dog Tactical is collecting donations for K9 Sam. Gift cards to PetPeople and PetSmart are appreciated.

Donations for Sam can be sent to:

Storm Dog Tactical

Att: K9 Sam

P.O.Box 1046

Sunbury, OH 43074-1046