Kaiser, a two-year-old German Shepherd dog who was a member of the Plymouth, Mass. police K9 unit, was put down this week, and the entire department and many members of the community came out to bid him an emotional farewell.
With officers in full uniform and giving him a solemn salute, Kaiser was led into the Court Street Animal Hospital by his partner and handler James LeBretton, where he was euthanized because of kidney failure.
Crowds came out again on Friday when Kaiser was buried at the Angel View Pet Cemetery.
LeBritton had often proudly posted photos of his partner on the Plymouth Working Dog Foundation Facebook page during the dog's short career.
Keiser's kidney disease quickly ravaged the dog's health. Sadly, canine kidney disease is typically quite progressed before it is diagnosed -- and once Kaiser was in kidney failure, Office LeBretton felt he had no option but to end the dog's suffering and have him put down.
He shared the heart-wrenching decision on Wednesday, writing:
"It is with deep regret and sorrow that I announce the retirement of my partner K-9 Kaiser. Kaiser was recently diagnosed with severe kidney disease/failure leaving his health to decline rapidly. Kaiser battled this disease with vigor and toughness like I have never seen before. Although, as of late, the disease has taken the upper hand forcing him out of his craft and ultimately out of this world. Kaiser taught me more about myself and my profession than I could have ever taught him. I feel privileged to have had a front row seat to witness his bravery and heroic actions while serving the people of Plymouth and my brothers and sisters in blue. Although his career was short lived, he made a huge impact that will never be forgotten. Kaiser loved being a Police Dog and I will miss him dearly. Out of love and respect for Kaiser, and with the input from our excellent vet, trainer, and family, I have made the heart wrenching decision to end Kaiser's suffering."
And following Kaiser's burial on Friday, an overwhelmed LeBretton added:
"RIP my boy. I could not have asked for a better partner or friend. May you rest easy and wait for me at that sacred bridge. I will be there my friend. I will be there. I will never forget you or our accomplishments. You made me a better person, a better handler, and a better cop. Till we meet again kai. I love you and will miss you daily."