MARUGAME, Kagawa -- A former police dog named Kinako, who gained popularity for her goofy nature and earnest efforts toward her profession, died apparently of old age on March 20 at age 14, officials at the Marugame Dog School announced.
The female Labrador retriever continued to fail the police dog test every year from 2004 before finally managing to pass the exam in November 2010 on her seventh try. The canine had since worked hard as a police dog registered with Kagawa Prefectural Police, until she retired in the spring of 2013. The dog attracted many fans after being featured in a movie, TV programs and books, and was appointed a special "police officer" for education by the prefectural police force in February 2008.
Born in May 2002, Kinako was given the name as the color of her hair resembled that of soybean flour, or "kinako" in Japanese. Kinako's daughter, Komugi, also passed the police dog test on her fifth attempt.
Atsushi Kameyama, 30, a canine trainer at the Marugame Dog School where Kinako grew up, said, "I spent so much time with Kinako, so it's really sad that she has passed away. She was very docile. She died as if she was in her sleep."