"He put fear into criminals' minds, but love into the arms of a child," Colon said at a ceremony attended by the entire Cleveland Division of Police. In declining health at 13 1/2 years of age, Jet had been energetic enough to maintain active duty until late February, when his health declined enough that he had to be euthanized.
Cleveland.com reported that Jet Black was one of the longest-serving members of the Cleveland Police K-9 Unit, and participated in drug busts and the arrest of violent criminals. But he was a gentle soul at heart, once letting fifty kids covered in pizza grease pet his face, said police spokeswoman Jennifer Ciaccia.
He would also sleep in the hallway outside Colon's bedroom, keeping watch.
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"He was my shadow," said Colon in his eulogy, his voice audibly cracking. "Everywhere I went, he had to be right there with me, by my side. He showed me more love, forgiveness and understanding than any human had shown me."
Jet, born Baloo after the "Jungle Book" character, was purchased by the police department in 2002. K-9 officers live with their handlers during their time on the force; after 25 years as a handler, Colon plans to retire this fall. He said he had hoped to retire with Jet at his side.
Sgt. Doug Campion, who joined Colon at the veterinarian's office, said that Jet was true to form up to the end, lifting his leg to leave his final mark on Campion's shoe.
"I don't know if that was Jet showing me what he thought of my supervisory skills, or a sign that he and Tony had done some extra training," he told Cleveland.com.
Surrounded by family and fellow officers, also visibly moved, Colon said that Jet gave him purpose during his time on the force. "Rest well, sweet Baloo," he said at the end of his eulogy, turning to look at the photo of his former partner behind him.
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