MCSO deputy speaks out as K-9 partner fights losing battle with cancer

PHOENIX - The Maricopa County Sheriff's Office is preparing to say goodbye to one of their top deputies after four years of service.

"He just loves to play and he loves to be active as long as you make it interesting for him," Deputy James McFarland says of his K-9 partner, Max.

Those qualities are a big part of what made Sgt. Max one of MCSO's top K-9 officers.

"He was willing to do anything you ask him to do," McFarland tells us.

Over the course of four years, Max worked side-by-side with his McFarland, pulling in a spotless record. During his stint with MCSO, the beloved K-9 assisted in 450 bomb sweeps and helped arrest more than 75 suspects.

"He's in his prime," McFarland says of his partner.

And that's why it was so hard to hear the news from the vet.

"It was tough to swallow," McFarland recalls of the day he learned of Max's cancer. "You can see the tumor swelling in the thigh area. And that's where it started."

Max's vet said the cancer spread too fast and there was nothing they could do to save his life.

"Every morning you go and it looks bigger and bigger. It's tough to watch him. You want Max to be remembered as a big strong dog that loved to work that had a lot of life and to see him lay like this is not his character."

So the next few months, McFarland will now do what any partner would do -- stay by Max's side until the end.

"There's nothing more I could ask for in a dog. The last four years I've had him have been the highlight of my career."

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