Known for their athleticism, intelligence and loyalty, it's easy to see why German shepherds are the fourth-most popular breed of dog in the United States. Being as capable as they are, they make for great companions, but their skills can go way beyond just being a lovable member of the family.
German shepherds are famously known around the world for being incredibly capable workers. Today they are used for everything from search-and-rescue to special needs assistance. In respect to a specific occupation, however, these talented dogs are most commonly associated with their contributions to society as members of the police force.
German shepherds that go down this path typically start to receive special training from a very young age. Eventually, those that graduate to the K-9 unit of a police force are viewed equally as officers to any human. Like with all police officers, K-9 units put their lives on the line whenever they respond to the call of duty. They often emerge unscathed, but sometimes they aren't so lucky.
Ryan Davis was responding to a break-in at a grocery store in Canton, Ohio with his K-9 partner, Jethro. A 2-year-old German shepherd, Jethro was already a model officer on the force and formed an incredible bond with his partner. During their investigation, the pair encountered the suspect. Suddenly, the unthinkable happened. Upon confrontation, the suspect opened fire on the two officers. Sadly, Jethro was shot several times.
Jethro was later taken to the hospital and, despite putting up an incredible fight, he eventually passed away due to his injuries. Officer Davis stayed by his side the entire time he was receiving treatment, hoping for a miracle that wouldn't come.
For Ryan Davis, Jethro was more than just his partner at work – he was a member of the family. Jethro was a part of Davis' family since he was only 8 weeks old. The kids loved the German shepherd like he was one of their siblings, and they shared countless memories together. Just like any member of a family, Jethro had to juggle work with life at home, but he found a way to cope and balance it all with Ryan by his side. The pair were inseparable. Ryan knows that Jethro saved his life, and he said he would "trade places with him in a heartbeat."
The community came together to honor this fallen officer in a touching memorial service. The service included a procession of 100 fellow K-9 officers, and it even had a lovely flower arrangement in the shape of dog bone that was placed atop Jethro's casket.
Jethro's impact on the community and the lives of the Davis family will never be forgotten. It's heartbreaking to watch, but be sure to check out the footage of the service in the video below.
Via: Little Things