Off of Louisiana Street, it's hard to miss a fence lined with flowers. It’s a memorial for Lt. Craig Lehner. He died nearly one year ago in the Niagara River during a training exercise.
Inside that fence is a place that special to him and his dog, Shield. It's the Buffalo Police Department K-9 Training Center.
“He's a great dog. He's very energetic, as you can see. He doesn't stop moving around,” said Matthew Richards. He is Shield's new handler. They've been partners for the past 6 months.
“It's really almost a dream come true,” said Richards.
He's keeping Shield's skills at tip-top shape, just like Lehner did. That means plenty of time working the obstacle course. While, he loves working with the dog, he knows his history.
“It's one of those things where it's great, but at the same time it's kind of hard too,” explained Richards.
Richards isn't the only on remembering Shield's history.
“We're trying to raise money for the Buffalo Police K-9 Unit,” said Scott Milligan, an old military friend of Lehner’s.
The South Buffalo neighborhood he lives in is prepping and painting pumpkins to raise money for the BPD K-9 Unit.
“Craig wouldn't want an upbringing of remembrance for him every year,” said Milligan. That’s why the money they raise is going straight to the BPD K-9 Unit.
“It's nice to see the community showing support for us,” said Richards.
It's been a tough year for the BPD K-9 Unit, but Buffalo has their back. Whether it’s with a pumpkin, or on the fence outside their training facility.
To bue a blue pumpkin you can go to 118 West Woodside Ave, on Saturday from 9am-9pm, Sunday from 9am-3pm.