The bond between a man and his dog can be unmistakably strong, but when man's best friend is also your partner in crime fighting, it takes it to a whole new level.
The Walton County Sheriff's K-9 unit knows exactly what that bond is like, because they live it everyday.
Fetching the ball Friday afternoon from his handler, Corporal Nick Bearden, the K-9 named Lee looked a little bit like lassie and a little bit like Rin-tin-tin.
But together, Lee and Bearden are way better than Turner and Hooch.
"He acts the age of a two year old," joked Bearden about his furry partner.
Bearden would know, as he spends every waking moment with his partner in crime fighting.
Their bond is unmistakable.
"It's a little stronger than just a partner, it's more like a family member," said Bearden.
Just get the two together and it's clear; whether busting cars for drugs or tracking fugitives on the loose, Bearden and Lee are a force to be reckoned with.
So is the rest of the 4 unit team made up of Belgium Malinois', Ella and Nero, German Sheppard, Kayne, and their handlers: Deputy Sheriff's Steve Key, Matt Key, and Chad Biernacki.
Together the team has taken the county by storm since 2009, winning numerous awards and recognition for K-9 training, tracking, and drug detection.
"These officers and canines have been working hard to make us proud here in our community," said Walton County Sheriff's PIO, Wendy Ammons.
Ammons has seen first hand the devotion between these men and their partners.
"You never leave him. You're always with him twelve hours on a shift. You take him home. He's in your home with your family. He's your best friend," she said.
Though Bearden admitted it can be hard to get too close to your partner, because a time may come when you have to move on.
"When you have to hand down a dog to another handler it's like handing over your kid," he said.
But for now, their bond is unbreakable, and, whether pausing for a game of catch or catching a criminal, this crime fighting duo is ready for