DYER — Nine years ago, Cpl J.D. Sickles met K-9 Igar.
It was Sickles' first K-9, and the pair graduated from training at Vohne Liche Kennels in September 2010.
In August K-9 Igar, a German Shepard, retired from his post as a dual-purpose narcotics K-9.
K-9 Igar conducted article and building searches, narcotics detection and also did tracking.
Shortly after his retirement, K-9 Igar was diagnosed with an aggressive form of cancer that attacks the cells that line blood vessels.
He was given anywhere from 30 to 60 days to live. He lived 82.
"We knew it was going to be fast, but you always are hopeful because you love them," said Sickles, who has been with Dyer police for 10 years.
"I'm like, 'He's going to make it longer. He's going to make it a year.' In my head I'm like, 'He's going to fight it.' The worst part about it is he would've kept fighting it."
K-9 Igar came home with Sickles every night and even joined the family for vacation.
"He was part of the family," Sickles said.
Sickles said he can't imagine not being a K-9 handler.
"I know if he could talk ... he would say that he would want me to work another dog so that another K-9 had the relationship with their handler that we had," Sickles said.
Sickles said Igar will have a permanent place in his Schererville home. An urn with 12-year-old Igar's badge and collar will sit on the mantle above his fireplace.
"I have pictures of both of my grandparents up there also. (It's) kind of a memorial for our family that's not here anymore," Sickles said.
Earlier this year, K-9 Igar was surprised with a portrait, memorial box and law enforcement flag from Protecting K9 Heroes.
"We are more than just safety equipment for K-9s, we like to honor the heroes after they pass as well," said Staci Goveia, founder of Protecting K9 Heroes.
To honor Igar, the organization will donate 12 ballistic vests in his honor to various police departments. Each vest will have a memorial strip that says, "In memory of K9 Igar," she said.
"Igar was such a terrific dog, and he made such an impact on the community," Goveia said. "He was a dog that knew how to open up his own squad car door. He would bite the handle and open up the door and hop on in by himself."