Officer Homyak and Thor retire after many years of service
Happy trails, Thor.
And adios to Amy Homyak, who led the groundbreaking work to make canines part of the everyday activity around the transit police at RTD.
Both Thor and Homyak retired June 2. Thor’s future involves relaxing and playing with the other dogs where Homyak lives. Thor might get to search every now and then for fun. But his heavy sniffing days are behind him.
And Homyak is turning her attention to a new career.
After a decade with RTD, and seven years of handling Thor for a variety of RTD policing purposes, Homyak is planning on a switch to social work. She will start by studying for a master’s degree at Walden University. It’s time, said Homyak, to start helping others meet life’s challenges rather than being the officer dealing with the same revolving-door of scofflaws and troublemakers.
“He’s been a great buddy and I’m just so glad that he gets to retire,” said Homyak.
The name “Thor” might make one think Homyak’s dog is as mean and tough as the hammer-wielding mythological god, but the English cream golden retriever is mostly known for his tail-wagging, happy spirit. ‘English cream golden retriever,’ explains Homyak, “is a fancy name that means very expensive golden retriever.”
Even at seven years old, Thor’s puppy spirit has not yet faded. Thor has been an excellent explosive detection dog when needed, particularly in checking unattended bags for explosives. Thor was often spotted at large community events, whether it’s big football games at Folsom Field in Boulder, at Ball Arena for a Garth Brooks show, or around Union Station for the kickoff parade for the National Western Stock Show.
Supporting large community events, explained Homyak, is simply a matter of “mutual aid” to police forces in any of the cities that RTD serves. Should anything catastrophic happen, after all, it would impact metro Denver’s transit system.
Thor’s presence with RTD was a bit of a miracle. Rocky Mountain Canine Academy first rescued Thor through Golden Retriever Rescue of the Rockies from a shelter in Alaska where Thor was likely going to be euthanized. The canine academy recognized Thor’s potential and soon Thor was working with Homyak, who introduced the idea of an RTD K-9 unit with a bloodhound named Riley.
Thor trained at the Front Range Explosive Detection Group as an 18-month-old and passed with flying colors.
“He’s definitely a one in a million dog,” says Homyak. “He's fantastic. And there are so many people here at RTD who I’ve known for the past 10 years and I’m going to miss them so much. But I’m excited to be part of helping people … and now we both get to move on in the best way possible.”