JOHNS CREEK, Ga. — The Johns Creek Police said a heartbreaking goodbye, on Thursday, following the death of a long-time K-9 officer.
The department announced on Facebook that K-9 Leo had died just two nights earlier. They also shared a letter from Leo's partner, Sgt. Goins.
"K-9 Leo was born in The Netherlands in 2009 and began working with me in June of 2011," Goins wrote. "Leo taught me far more than I ever could have taught him. He was the definition of loyalty."
It was a bond, Goins said, that had quickly spread to the rest of his family.
"He was with me through thick and thin and always had my back," Sgt. Goins wrote.
He added that his partner had the "uncanny ability" to go from "ferocious guardian" to "loving pup."
"I loved to show everyone that he was ready, willing, and loved to protect me and do his job," Goins said. "But, he could also be the kindest dog you've ever met."
And while the loss of a partner is tough for Goins, it's the loss of a four-legged family member that has been the most difficult part.
"My three daughters all loved him tremendously," he said. "My youngest is almost two and doesn't understand my answer when she keeps asking, 'Where's Leo?' today."
It's an impact the Goins, who said he grew up around dogs, said he wasn't prepared for.
"Leo has set a precedent for me and my family and he will live on forever in our hearts," he added. "See you on the other side, buddy."