A canine was given his final salute after spending years with Yarmouth Police Department located in Maine.
Named Sultan, the German shepherd was the first police dog to serve on the force. He and his former partner Mike Vogel (now working in Florida) answered more than 1,000 phone calls, helped nab suspects, seized more than 100 pounds of narcotics and an unknown amount of cash, The Portland Press Herald reported.
But after years on the force, the canine retired at age 10 and went to live out the rest of his life with canine officer Shane Stephenson and his family. Stephenson said the dog was a love bug and would even let his child pull on his ears and tail, according to the AP.
Now at 13, Sultan was suffering from seizures and arthritis. His family knew it was time to go.
On February 13, the dog received his last salute. Police officers paid their respect – patting the dog on his head, petting him and saying their farewells – before he headed off to Miami vet clinic to be put down. Maine State Police K-9 handler Justin Cooley told the AP that the bond between handlers and the canines is something extremely special.
“These are dogs that we take home with us; they get to know our family. They’re with us 24 hours a day, seven days a week. You go through a lot of things with them, and you just dread this day.”
Featured image via Shawn Patrick Ouellette of The Portland Press Herald