Officers salute K-9 police dog before he is put to sleep

May 31, 2013 9:16:15 PM PDT
Police officers in Plymouth, Mass. saluted "Kaiser" the police dog as he was led to the vet's office to be put down on Friday.

The 2.5-year-old German Shepherd was diagnosed with a chronic and fatal kidney disease this March, according to Plymouth Police patrolman Jamie Lebretton, who handled the dog.

"Kaiser loved being a Police Dog and I will miss him dearly. Out of love and respect for Kaiser, and with the input from our excellent vet, trainer, and family, I have made the heart wrenching decision to end Kaiser's suffering," Lebretton posted on the K-9 unit's Facebook page.

An image showing the Plymouth Police officers saluting the dog quickly went viral on Friday after it was posted on Facebook by the Old Colony Memorial and Reddit.