The K-9 partner of slain Twinsburg police officer, Joshua Miktarian, has died of cancer.
"Bagio" was a fearless narcotics sniffing dog who stood watch over Miktarian's family during his final three years of life.
"Josh loved him," Holly Miktarian said, with a warm smile on her face. "It was a pathetic relationship, he called Bagio his son."
Miktarian, a retired police officer herself, laughed as she remembered the good times her 33-year-old husband spent with his dog at his side.
"They held hands on the couch on their time off, so it was nice to have Bagio here," she said.
Bagio was seven-years-old and standing guard in the backseat of Officer Miktarian's cruiser in July of 2008, when a 23-year-old named Ashford Thompson, shot the officer multiple times during a routine traffic stop. Thompson was sentenced to death for his crime.
"He was the only witness that morning that Josh was killed," Miktarian said of Bagio. "So I think when he came home, he just kind of turned it into his job to watch us...it's weird to say, but that's how it seemed."
Always on duty, Miktarian said Bagio never willingly took his eyes off the family. The Miktarian's little girl, Thea, who is now three-years-old, was never safer than when the German Shepard was at her side.
"If she cried, he wanted to know why," Miktarian said.
Bagio was due to retire a few months after Officer Miktarian was killed. Twinsburg police sent him home early to live out the rest of his life.
"It was nice having Bagio here...it really was...it was like a part of Josh here," Miktarian said.
January brought the news Miktarian knew she would one day have to face: An aggressive cancer would soon take Bagio's life. Surgery and treatment bought Bagio a few weeks -- a few more opportunities for his family to give back to a loyal loved one that had given so much to them.
"He would get cookies in the morning and after dinner," Miktarian said, smiling at the memory, "and he loved his Kong because it was the only thing he couldn't destroy, so the most expensive bones were the ones he couldn't destroy, so unfortunately, those are the ones he had to have."
Bagio was 10-years-old. Twinsburg police will hold a ceremony in his honor at a later date.
There is a video at the link. RIP Bagio - you're now reunited with your partner.