A special ceremony honouring a four-legged member of the Truro Police Service was held Wednesday.

After five years on the job, Quaid the police dog is officially retired from his position with the force.

Police officers in Truro say the six-year-old German Shepherd will be missed.

“Well, obviously he’s more than a dog to us and to the community,” says Truro Police Chief Dave MacNeil. “He’s been a five-year member of the Truro Police Service and he served our community and the province of Nova Scotia very well during that time.”

Quaid is the fourth canine officer to serve with the Truro Police Service. Police dogs are trained for things like obedience, aggression and tracking.

Const. Justin Russell says police dogs and their human partners share a special bond.

“To the average person it is just a dog and another piece of equipment, but to me, it’s my best friend,” says Russell, Quaid’s partner. “You know, it’s my partner.”

While Wednesday’s event was a celebration of Quaid’s commitment to the force, officers say there is a bittersweet sadness to the proceedings.

Quaid was diagnosed with a terminal illness earlier this year. His current and former partners say it has been difficult to deal with the diagnosis.

“It’s tough to deal with, but you know, he’s put his time in and unfortunately it’s cut a little short,” says Russell.

“It is a tough day but at the end of the day, he’s going to be retiring,” says Quaid’s former partner, Const. Jason Yhard. “He’s going to be getting the rest that he deserves and he’s going to get to be a dog.”

Staff from the Truro Veterinary Hospital also attended the service to honour Quaid.

“He’s an awesome dog. He’s very friendly, always loves to come in and see us,” says veterinarian Dr. Michele Porter. “He’s been a really happy dog.”

An honour guard of police dogs from Halifax and New Glasgow stood by as people filed out of the hall after the service.

“Quaid has been a phenomenal member to both our police service and our family and it’s a great loss to our police service that he’s going into early retirement,” says Const. Karen Hartling of the Truro Police Service.

A new police dog has been hired for the Truro Police Service. He begins his duties in September.

With files from CTV Atlantic's Dan MacIntosh