NACOGDOCHES COUNTY, TX (KTRE) - As the manhunt continues for the man who fatally shot, Smith County K-9 officer, Ogar, East Texas law enforcement and fellow K-9 handlers are sympathizing with the officer who lost his four-legged partner. A 23-year veteran of law enforcement explained why the bond between K-9 handlers and their partners is one like no other.
"It's more than the guy on the other end of a leash. It's a bond that some people have and some people don't," said Chief Deputy Stephen Godfrey of the Nacogdoches Sheriff's Office.
It's a bond that the fellow dog-handler can identify with.
"I think that's something that is a remarkable trait of an animal. It becomes man's best friend but also man's best protector," Godfrey said.
Upon learning the heart-rending news that Smith County Deputy Constable Kevin Petty, had lost his partner from a fatal gunshot wound, Godfrey could recall the days his former K-9, Richtor, had stood by his side.
"There are times I'd be by myself, often times out-numbered. The K-9 was definitely there and let everybody know he was with me," Godfrey said.
Loyalty and security was offered to both Godfrey and to Petty by committed partners.
"They say a K-9 handler of 20 years will find one good dog that he finally bonds with," Godfrey said.
Godfrey's K-9 also passed after a heart attack, but he says a man's rapport with his K-9 can be recognized and comes from love.
"To me, this dog has demonstrated not only the tenacity, but also the desire for the commitment by his work ethic he had with that team," Godfrey said.
As that search continues for the man who took a friend and partner's life, Godfrey said the good outweighs the tragedy.
"That handler is going home safe solely because of his partners sacrifice," Godfrey said.
As any fellow K-9 handler would agree, Officer Ogar did not lose his life in vain.
"The dog needs to be honored, because he truly is a hero," Godfrey said. "I just praise God that dog was there for that K-9 handler."
For those interested, Ogar's memorial service will be this Saturday at 1p.m. at the First Baptist Church in Lindale.