Police sergeant writes heartfelt goodbye to late K-9 partner

A Florida police sergeant penned a heart-rending letter to his four-legged partner after he had to put the dog down last week.

"Today has been the most difficult day of my career," wrote Clearwater Police Sgt. Michael Spitaleri in a letter posted to Facebook on June 24. "I made the decision to end your pain and suffering, however, I'm hurting far more than I anticipated. I already miss you, buddy."

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Former Police K-9 Major served with the Clearwater Police Department for six years. Spitaleri thought Major was small and timid when the pair first met in 2008, but Major quickly proved himself as they made their way through K-9 school together.

During their first week on the beat together, in March 2009, Major earned a reputation for tracking skills when he successfully found a man who threatened his wife with a knife.

"Throughout the years, we located dozens of criminals, illegal narcotics, firearms, and other items of evidentiary value," Spitaleri wrote. "These arrests and finds wouldn't have been possible without you. You made me look like a superstar at times; truth be told, I was nothing more than the guy who held your leash."

Over the next six years, Major's reputation only grew. Dispatchers knew him because he constantly barked over Spitaleri as he tried to talk on his police radio. The SWAT team, described by Spitaleri as "some of the toughest men I have ever had the privilege of working beside," thought Major was crazy.

"You weren't crazy; you were my protector," he wrote. "You were their protector. You knew no limits and you would stop at nothing to make sure we made it home safely to our families. You took your job seriously."

Spitaleri brought Major home after retiring the dog in 2014 due to unspecified medical conditions. Major struggled to adjust to life as a retiree, but managed to hit his stride.

"You became my wife's dog. You became my children's dog," Spitaleri wrote. "You made sure they were protected when Daddy went to went to work with his new dog, Echo. You would lay by my kids' door at night while they slept, almost as if to say 'I got them, Daddy, you go to work, and they'll be fine.' I felt at peace knowing you were home keeping them safe."

Spitaleri ended the note with a final request for the K-9.

"Major, I love you and I will always remember our time together. Please go find the nearest police officer when you get to heaven and tell them you are a police dog and you are reporting for duty," he wrote. "Until I see you again."

Read the full letter:

Major, one of our beloved former K9s, had to be put down today. He served the Clearwater Police Department and the city...

Posted by Clearwater Police Department on Friday, June 24, 2016