DOVER, Ohio (WJW) – We build monuments to pay tribute to our hometown heroes, but an inspiring new memorial is saluting a city’s top dog, who left his paw prints across his community.

Just as he did while on the Dover police force for seven and a half years, a police K9 named Rex is keeping watch over this city of 13,000 people.

A newly dedicated memorial in downtown Dover pays tribute to Rex, who became a beloved mascot and good will ambassador, after police re-launched the city’s K9 program in 2014.

“Rex was very friendly, he loved children, he got along well with everybody, he was also somebody’s dog, a family dog,” said Dover Mayor Shane Gunnoe.

Patrolman Bill Nedrow was Rex’s partner and best friend and says Rex would flip a switch when it came to police work.

“The minute the car would start, he knew it was time to go to work and his whole attitude changed, he went from a loving family pet dog to a working dog that was all business,” said Officer Nedrow.

The Nedrow family, police officers and other Dover city employees were among those who were heartbroken when Rex died in 2022.

Officer Nedrow says every day while on patrol, he is reminded about what he lost when Rex passed away.

“How much I miss him, how much I wish he was still here,” he said.

After Rex died, a member of Dover City Council decided to launch a public fundraising campaign to build a memorial next to the police department, as a permanent salute to Rex and other K9’s that pass on after serving the city.

Council Member Sandy Moss told FOX 8, “It was a huge loss, and it was a huge loss to me, I cried, I was upset over that and that’s when I started thinking about it and thinking, ‘what can I do.’”

Rex made such an impression on one member of the Dover community, that she donated $15,000 to the monument fund, and she only had one condition, that she remain anonymous.  

“Because deep down, I know she loved Rex and you know, Rex loved her,” said Sandy Moss.

In all, private donors contributed $19,000 to build the monument to Rex and Dover’s other silent sentries.

“The legacy lives on,” said Officer Nedrow. “Hopefully, they will remember him and all the dogs to come.”