An officer has penned a heart-felt letter paying tribute to his police dog Dante, after he was put down following nine years of service.
The letter, published on Facebook by Massachusetts state trooper Christopher Coscia, described the close relationship Mr Coscia had with the German Shepherd, who suffered from seizures due to a loss of blood flow.
"Dante was best described as a one-person dog, and as tough as he was for other people to get close to, our relationship never waivered [sic]", he wrote.
"Every morning when I opened the door to his kennel he would jump up on me, wrap his paws around my waist, get his morning greeting and pat from me, storm up the stairs, and push the door open ready to go to work."
During his nine years with the officer, Dante helped to track down a murder suspect, locate more than 1,000 grams of heroin and 8,600 grams of cocaine and find millions of dollars in cash.
"Dante was very intelligent; one day when I was out with him I made the mistake of teaching him to open the cruiser door - a task which took five minutes once I showed him how. From that, Dante figured out that doors open with handles, and all you have to do is grab them with your mouth and pull or turn.
"He took this new knowledge and taught himself to slide open the door that separated us in the cruiser, his way to always be close to me. While on patrol he would occasionally stick his head through for his occasional ear rub. When you see such a powerful, intelligent dog so helpless at times somehow made the events that follow even harder."
Mr Coscia pulled over at the side of the road while taking Dante on his final journey to the vets to finish his letter, after driving around for hours struggling with the decision to put him down.
"I sit here writing this obituary in a parking lot not two miles before we reached our final destination. I write this story with tears in my eyes and flowing freely down my face", he wrote.
"Dante is still somehow sitting upright watching me as I write about him, every once in a while sticking his head through the cage, letting me know things will be alright."
Almost 20,000 people have liked his post, with many offering their condolences for the officer's loss.Reuse content