TOBYHANNA TOWNSHIP - Police officers struggled to hold back tears during the memorial service for K-9 Niko at Pocono Mountain West High School.
Corporal Matthew Nero held Niko's flag wrapped remains in his hands, then gave the eulogy for his partner of seven years.
"It was unbelievable. It was a heck of a ride. Until we meet again Niko, thank you," said Nero.
Niko's death was sudden and swift. The Pocono Mountain Regional Police Department explains that during a drug search on Wednesday, Niko fell ill.
A vet later discovered the dog's stomach was full of blood, likely due to a fast growing cancer. Putting Niko down was the only option.
"He died on duty, I think that was what he was meant to do, he was a working dog, loved him to death. He gave 110 percent," said Nero.
Grieving officers were joined by civilians who also felt an extraordinary connection.
"He looked like you were talking to a person. Like you could say 'Hi Niko, you did a good job and his eyes.' He was wonderful, I don't think they can replace him," said Nola Stewart of Pocono Pines.
The service ended with a silent procession of lights. A tribute to the dog that brightened so many lives.