They've tracked down drugs and felons, been attacked in the line of duty and protected sheriff's deputies from bad guys.
But Rommel and Max still acted like dogs Wednesday at their retirement party at the Sedgwick County Courthouse: They tussled over a toy.
Rommel and Max are hanging up their leashes after several years of service with the Sedgwick County Sheriff's Office.
The two dogs were the first to be trained for the department, starting in 2002, and so are the first to retire. Both will continue to live with the deputies who have been their handlers.
Rommel is a 10-year-old German shepherd who has, since 2002, sniffed more than 4,500 vehicles for drugs, apprehended 156 suspects and found $554,000 connected to drug trafficking and drugs valued at more than $29 million.
Max is an 8-year-old Belgian Malinois who has, in the past seven years, sniffed more than 3,100 vehicles for drugs, located $1.7 million in illegal drugs and conducted 89 tracks for fleeing criminals.
"He's caught more bad guys than we would have without him," Deputy Ben Romero, Max's handler, said of the dog. "And he's protected me, that's for sure."
Max is retiring as his handler prepares to deploy to Iraq with the Army National Guard. Max will remain home with Romero's family, who have treated the dog as a pet during his law-enforcement career. Except, that is, whenever Max has seen Romero don his uniform.
"He sees me getting dressed and he goes ballistic because he knows we're going to work," Romero said.
With Rommel, once his handler, Deputy Hank Cocking, starts to accelerate his sheriff's car, the dog turns his head and starts whining.
"He's a veteran," Cocking said."... He's one in a million."
Cocking is a certified dog trainer and is getting ready to train and then be the handler of one of two dogs that will be replacing the retirees. Max and Rommel will be on call until the two new dogs complete 10 weeks of training.
A third dog was added to the department last year and is working full time. That means being in the same danger deputies are in.
"We got these dogs for two reasons," said sheriff's Capt. Annette Haga. "They can do things humans can't do, smell things at a level we can't.
"The other reason is ... when you have a dangerous felon in a house, the fact that you can send a dog in to locate him and/or apprehend him makes us safer."
The dogs and their handlers have been on call to work any of three shifts depending on the need for the dogs on any given day. The dogs are used an average of 400 times a year.
"I think they're off to a better life now," Romero said.