A terminally ill police dog in Connecticut, USA was given a final salute by officers, as his handler walked him to the vet one last time.

Michael D'Arresta and German Shepherd Hunter had been working together for 10 years when the police pup was suddenly taken ill.

It was only a few days after the K9 began showing signs of being unwell that he was diagnosed with aggressive liver cancer.

After that, it was down to Michael to make one of the toughest decisions a K9 handler will ever be faced with: whether or not to let his faithful companion pass away.

In a post on Middletown Police Department's Facebook page a heartfelt tribute was posted, along with a photo of a tearful D'Arresta carrying his friend through a crowd of saluting officers.

The post, by Sergeant Doug Clarke, read in full:

"Officer Michael D'Aresta unfortunately has to make the toughest decision any K9 handler dreads making this evening at Pieper Olson in Middletown at 1830 hours.

"K9 Hunter has been ill for that past several days and when tests were conducted they revealed that K9 Hunter has a very aggressive form of liver cancer. They unfortunately recommended that he be euthanised.

police dog

Credit: Middletown Police Department

"Officer D'Aresta and Hunter have been an exceptional team serving the City of Middletown in a high caliber since 2007.

"So as you can imagine, this is extremely difficult for Mike and his family."

The post on Facebook has received a lot of attention and people have flocked to the comments section to pay their respects to Hunter and offer their condolences to Mike.

One user wrote: "To the Middletown police and D'Arresta families. I'm very sorry to hear the sad news of K9 Hunter's passing. To K9 Hunter, thank you so much for your years of dedicated and fantastic service to Middletown and Connecticut sweet boy. You are loved, you are missed and you will never be forgotten. May you enjoy life beyond the Rainbow Bridge, still watching out for your colleagues and family from your new jurisdiction."

police dog

Credit: Middletown Police Department

Another added: "This gets me every time. I'm a veterinarian and I have many service dogs as patients. I know how bonded their people are to them. I'm so sorry for your loss. Thank you, officers for your service."

The post was added to Facebook on 2 September and has since been shared over 1,400 times, with over 1,000 comments.

Words: Paddy Maddison

Featured Image Credit: Middletown Police Department

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