ROANOKE, Va. - A K-9 in Roanoke County received a hero's sendoff.
Roanoke County Police Department K-9 Jabbo was honored during a memorial service Saturday morning. The dog died unexpectedly June 15 at the age of 9.
"It's hard. It really is," Roanoke County Assistant Police Chief Chuck Mason said. "It was a tough evening when he died. It was such a surprise, nobody saw this coming."
Jabbo's handler, Officer Kirk Stickley, received a folded flag in honor of the dog and led a funeral procession with Jabbo's ashes. Mason said it's been hard to see Stickley lose his K-9 partner.
"The handler looks to the dog for protection, just as the dog looks to the handler for protection," Mason said. "It's tough to describe how tight that bond is."
"Jabbo was a great dog," added fellow Roanoke County Officer Christina Wilhelm, who also handles a K-9. "I can't imagine Officer Stickley's grief of not having him there."
Jabbo spent seven years serving the Roanoke County Police Department, all of them with Stickley as his handler. Jabbo specialized in both bomb detection and patrol work.
Mason said Jabbo is irreplaceable on the force.
"He was such a tough dog," Mason said. "Losing a dog like Jabbo this week hurts."
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