BARDSTOWN, Ky. (WHAS11) -- Final goodbyes are never easy. Letting go may be just as hard and that may be the toughest part for Jason Ellis' family.
"It's been an emotional rollercoaster. I know this is it. I know it's it. This is it," said Kris Phillips.
For the second time in less than a month, the city of Bardstown honored one of their own. Figo, a German Shepherd and Jason's K-9 partner, was given a sendoff fit for a hero. Figo died last month from health complications. It's the same place many gathered last month to mark the four-year anniversary of Jason's unsolved murder.
"The dog is your family. It's your partner," Will Strunk told WHAS11. He worked to train Figo with Ellis years before Ellis' ambush murder. It was a sniper in the woods who police believe laid a trap on the roadway designed for Ellis to stop. He was shot and killed.
Strunk knows the bond between officer and K-9. "I think the good Lord knew Figo was having health problems and needed to be with Jason," he said.
Ellis' mother-in-law says the picture taken at Jason's funeral of Figo laying his paw on Jason's casket was Figo giving him a final and proper salute. She wanted the same for the dog that became a symbol of healing at a time when many were left broken.
"When you think of the dog taking the bullet, but when the officer takes the bullet and leaves the dog, it's very emotional and it will forever be with us," Phillips said.