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Dog Helps Fallen Officer’s Family Heal

PONTIAC – The family of a local police officer killed last week has a new source of healing.
PONTIAC – The family of a local police officer killed last week has a new source of healing.
We first told you the story of Casey Kohlmeier, 29, and his K9, Draco, on October 30. The pair was killed by an alleged drunk driver in Pontiac. Hundreds of people attended funeral services in Pontiac last Saturday.
Kohlmeier's family is still coping with the loss, according to his mother Keri Schmidt.  The community has really stepped up to support the family, but there was still something missing.
Ryli Schmidt, Kohlmeier’s nine-year-old sister, has not smiled much since the death of her big brother and his K9.
"It was the day after the accident. (We were) trying to think about how we could go on and how we can cope with everything,” said Keri.  
Then, Schmidt and Kohlmeier’s father got an idea. They started searching for a dog like Draco and train it to be a service dog. Ryli took the lead.  
"I'm searching. It's probably about 11 o'clock at night and I'm still searching it," she said.  
A few days ago, she found a match and emailed their story to a breeder in Oakford.  
"And then I said we were wondering how much it would cost and then I gave her mom's phone number," said Ryli.  
Thursday, they welcomed the family's newest addition. Her name is Star. Schmidt says it was love at first sight.
"She is just so comfortable with [Ryli]. Look at this," she said.  
"I was amazed at how beautiful she is and how much she looked like Draco," said Ryli.  
Now, Ryli is smiling again.
 "Every day we get prouder and prouder of Casey and Draco don't we?" asked Keri.  
 "Yup,” answered Ryli. “And now I am starting to get prouder and prouder of Star every day."
Schmidt calls Star their “miracle,” because she was a still born. Now, a dog that barely started life will help this family remember two lives that ended too soon.
"Divine intervention right there,” said Schmidt. “[Her name is] Star and we think of the name the police wear on their badge. And Casey's dad said that the other night, he was just looking up at the stars and just thinking he's up there somewhere."
Star is 14 weeks old. The family plans to train her to be a search and rescue dog.
“We know it would make Casey and Draco proud,” said Kohlmeier’s mother.
After the dog's original owner confirmed the family's story with police, she gave them the dog for free.
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