This story was updated at 1:26 p.m. on Friday, Feb. 14, 2020, with more information.
Whitfield County's drug dog Eddy and his handler, Deputy Todd Thompson, have been named as the overall winners in the sixth episode of A&E reality TV show "America's Top Dog," according to a news release from the Whitfield County Sheriff's Office.
Well-wishers packed into Cherokee Brewing + Pizza for a party in Dalton, Georgia, on Wednesday to watch the team compete and show their support during the airing of the episode, titled "Country Boys and Rescue Dogs."
The episode showcased a three-round competition in which Eddy and Thompson competed against Team Cam and Deputy Justin Wilmot of Tallahassee, Fla. The rounds were called "The Combine," "The Boneyard," and "The Doghouse," respectively.
Team Eddy came in first in "The Combine" and "The Boneyard" rounds.
Thompson said he's proud of how he and his K9 partner have performed in the competition and "proud of the teamwork and the bond that Eddy and I have established over our short time together."
He said the community's support "means the world to me."
"I've got so many text messages and e-mails and phone calls from people that I hadn't talked to in years, and everybody is just really supporting us and it's just been overwhelming," Thompson said in the release.
While Eddy was unable to attend the party since Thompson thought it would be too much for him to handle, Thompson praised Eddy's efforts on the show.
The fact that he and Eddy did so well on the show "solidifies that I am definitely on the right track with this program," Thompson said in the release. "I'm on the right track with this dog, and what a great dog we have in this county!"
One guest in attendance at the party was Nick White, labeled as an "expert trainer" in his role as one of the hosts on "America's Top Dog." White, a former U.S. Marine and former member of the Secret Service, has years of experience working with K9s as well as the owner of a dog training company with locations across the country, the release states.
In his first visit to Dalton, White says he "immediately loved" Thompson as soon as he met him for the show, and accepted Thompson's invite to the city.
"I'm from a small town in Ohio, and [Thompson] gave me that small-town, super respectful, super nice, very genuine, caring country boy feel that kind of brought me back to when I was in Ohio growing up," White said in the release.
"I knew he was such a great guy, had such a great dog, such a great team, so when he invited me to come up here to Dalton, I was like, say no more, I'm gonna be there, and here I am."
On the show, which debuted this January, Thompson made it a point to honor his late co-worker, Lt. Fran Rice, by having Eddy wear Rice's retirement badge on his chest.
"It was an experience of a lifetime to get to do this and to honor Lt. Fran Rice and his legacy and his family," Thompson said in the release. "Fran was a big part of me getting to do this [become a K9 handler]."
"America's Top Dog" brings top K9 cops and civilian dogs together alongside their handlers as they compete nose-to-nose on the ultimate K9 obstacle course, the release states.
In each one-hour episode, four police K9 teams, including fan-favorites from the hit series "Live PD," and one civilian team face off for the title of "Top Dog" in three rounds of competition. The teams are tested on their speed, agility, and teamwork by completing a series of expert tasks on a massive obstacle course, including navigating a complex maze for scented items and apprehending and taking down a suspect in a bite suit, among a variety of other challenges.
Each week's winning team receives $10,000 and an additional $5,000 to donate to the animal charity of their choice.
Thompson and Eddy will return in the grand finale, where they will face off against other weekly winners to compete for the title of "America's Top Dog" and an additional $25,000 cash prize in an episode that will air on A&E in a few weeks, according to the release.