The rumor around town is that K-9 Baso of the Wilton Police Department does not eat dog food but rather strips of beef from the grocery store.

That may or may not be true, but the one thing that is certain is that 19-month-old Baso is intelligent, enthusiastic, well-trained, and doing a great job on a police force where he is most welcome, said Chief Robert Crosby.

Crosby led a department ceremony Jan. 9 at the town hall annex to thank all the donors who provided nearly $25,000 to purchase and train Baso.

Baso replaced Enzo, a K-9 who became ill and had to retire.

“We do have that need in town, for a dog who can find lost people, because there are seniors who have walked off and got lost,” Crosby told the crowd, which included families who pooled their money to donate.

Those being honored included the Bishop family of the Wilton-based Blue Buffalo dog food company, who gave $14,000.

Local resident Chris Sweetwood provided $5,000 in a matching gift.

The Pinchbeck family gave $2,000.

The Krasnow family gave $2,000.

The Dexter family gave $1,000.

Those who made large donations received commemorative certificates, mounted and framed. Many smaller donations brought the total up to nearly $25,000.

“We thank the community for its generosity,” Crosby said.

Baso joined the force in August and officially began duty the first week of October with his handler, Officer Eric Patenaude.

His duties include, in addition to finding lost people by picking up their scent, sniffing out drugs and helping to apprehend suspects.