Deputies in Anoka County paid tribute to a fallen comrade this past week, as one of its longest-serving K-9 officers died just a month from retirement.
The Anoka County Sheriff's Office has announced that K-9 "Major" passed away on Tuesday having succumbed to illness.
The dog had been an officer since 2007 and was due to retire at the end of December following his eight years of service.
Hit the hardest is Major's partner and handler, Deputy Cullen Czech, who has been with the canine since they were both at Big Lake Police Department.
When Czech was transferred to Anoka County, the Sheriff's Department purchased Major so he could stay with his partner.
In the Sheriff's Office statement, it says that Deputy Czech has lost a member of his family.
"Our K-9 partners are an integral part of our team and these losses impact us all," Sheriff James Stuart said. "We know it is especially hard on the handler, and their family, as the K-9s are not just law enforcement tools, but become a part of their family too.
"We will heal together and continue on in our role as ambassadors in our communities."