"Extremely difficult:" Heartbreaking photo captures show of support as officer says goodbye to K-9 partner

MIDDLETOWN, Connecticut -- A heartbreaking photo showing a K-9 officer carrying his beloved best friend into a veterinarian's hospital to be put down is going viral.

According to a post on the Middleton Police Department's Facebook page, the photos were captured after Middleton Police Officer Michael D'Aresta was forced to "make the toughest decision any K-9 handler dreads making."

Police said K-9 Hunter had been sick for several days, and tests revealed he had a very aggressive form of liver cancer. It was unfortunately recommended that Hunter be euthanized.

Officials with the MPD said "Officer D'Aresta and Hunter have been an exceptional team, serving the City of Middletown in a high caliber since 2007."

They noted that this has been "extremely difficult" for the officer and his family.

You'll notice though, when Officer D’Aresta took Hunter to the vet, he wasn’t alone. Waiting for the duo were several of his fellow officers, standing at attention -- honoring K-9 Hunter's service, and his life.