FAYETTEVILLE, WV (WVNS) — Law enforcement across the region are mourning the loss of a K-9 officer in Charleston who was recently shot in the line of duty. The death of a K-9 officer is especially difficult for their handlers, as the dogs are more than just a friend, they’re a partner.

In the world of law enforcement, partners do more than just wear the same badge. There has to be trust since they’re often putting their lives in each others’ hands, or in this case, paws.

Fayette County Sheriff’s Deputy First Class Ryan Fox trains Waeylin, his department’s bloodhound. Waeylin assists officers in search and rescue missions. Not long ago, he was instrumental in leading police to a man who’d wandered away from home, Fox said.

According to Fox, Waeylin isn’t just a dog. He’s a member of law enforcement.

“He’s got a picture on the calendar,” added Fox. “He is a member of my family. My little girl helps me take care of him. She goes out, feeds him, waters him, makes sure he’s got all he needs.”

An Ohio breeder brought Waeylin to the Fayette Sheriff’s Department nearly two years ago. Fox said he and the dog had an immediate bond.

Since then, Waeylin has lived with Fox and also goes to work with him. He said Wayelin is a loyal partner.

“He’s not your German Shepherd that the typical K-9 people think,” Fox explained. “But he protects me, even though he’s a bloodhound.

“People think a bloodhound wouldn’t watch out for you, but he does,” the deputy added. “I mean, he knows me and him go together.”