An Arny Update

Rachel DiAndrea of Altoona painted this portrait of Arny, Somerset Borough Police Department’s retired K-9 officer.

Posted: Monday, February 23, 2015 10:52 pm

At Somerset Borough Council’s February meeting, Altoona pet artist Rachel DiAndrea presented an original watercolor painting of Somerset Borough Police Department K-9 Officer Arny. The police dog, who has been on duty since 2006, was forced into retirement due to an aggressive form of cancer. DiAndrea said she was honored to do the painting when she realized how much the police dog meant to the community.

“Some people show they care by calling or sending a letter, but I can do art,” she said. “This is something people can hold near and dear to their heart.”

Officer Brian Harbart, Arny’s handler, and his wife were emotionally moved by the painting. The police dog has been living with the couple since his retirement in January. Harbart said the police dog is a true friend. He said he prays that Arny will die peacefully.

“I can see the day getting closer and closer, and I dread it,” he said while in tears.

Harbart said Arny is still putting up a fight with his illness. He said he eats and stays close to his wife. Harbart said the veterinarians gave Arny about 8 weeks to live after he had his spleen removed.

“That kind of cancer just advances so fast, it’s just a matter of time,” he said.

The Harbart family decided to commemorate Arny’s life by naming the new dog, when it arrives, after him. He said the new dog will be called AJ, after Arnold James, a name the Harbart’s fondly called Arny when he misbehaved.

Police Chief Randy Cox said the painting will soon be available for viewing at the Public Safety Building.


Daily American Staff photo by Amber Rosado:  Altoona artist Rachel DiAndrea presents Somerset Borough Police officer Brian Harbart and his wife Paulette with an original watercolor painting of K-9 officer Arny. The police dog is in suffering health due to an aggressive form of cancer and was forced to retire in January. Pictured from left to right: Paulette Harbart, Brian Harbart, Rachel DiAndrea and Police Chief Randy Cox.

Artist honors Arny

The Tribune-Democrat - Posted: Monday, February 23, 2015 11:51 pm

SOMERSET – Recently retired from the Somerset Borough Police Department, Arny is off his strict diet and enjoying as many treats as he wants, even if that means cake or pizza.

But the K-9 still has some fight in him, said his handler, Somerset Borough police Officer Brian Harbart, as he described how Arny acted to protect Harbart’s wife when the officer went home to pick up his glasses last week.

That spirited expression – alert ears pointing straight up and badge hanging from his collar – is what artist Rachel DiAndrea of Altoona captured in a watercolor portrait of the German shepherd, who was diagnosed with an aggressive form of cancer and retired from the force.

DiAndrea, who creates artwork of pets, heard about Arny and said she felt compelled to do something. She presented her work to Harbart and his wife, Paulette, at a Borough Council meeting Monday.

Police Chief Randy Cox said the portrait belongs with Arny’s family.

“We feel – though we all want to see this portrait – we feel the most fitting place for it to reside is at the Harbart household,” he said.

Fighting tears, Harbart expressed his thanks.

“(Arny) truly showed me what a friend was,” the officer said.

Somerset Borough Police K9 Officer Brian Harbart expresses his sentiment upon being presented an original watercolor of K9 Arny by artist Rachel DiAndrea. Officer Harbart’s wife, Paulette is to his right and DiAndrea is to his right.

Arny’s health is in decline, Harbart said, and he is sticking close to his and Paulette’s sides.

“We know that the time is coming closer and closer,” Harbart said.

Arny was diagnosed in January with hemangiosarcoma, a deadly disease that invades vessel cells, and was given about eight weeks to live at the time.

He was the department’s first K-9 since the 1980s, and police have said the K-9 program will continue.

Officer Harbart said his wife already has chosen a new name for a new K-9: Arnold James, a play on the pet name Harbart would use with Arny when he was in trouble.

Paulette Harbart made the announcement.

“The new dog will be A.J., in honor of Arnold James,” she said.

February 26, 2015

Arny Update 1-28-15 >>

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