By Nick Emmons, WBZ-TV

ASHLAND (CBS) – A sendoff fit for a hero in Ashland. Police K9 Dax is calling it a career after 11 years on the force.

It’s a bittersweet time for Sgt. Chris Alberini. He and Dax have been partners since 2009, and in 2013 Dax saved his life. “I think everyone at the department believes at least one or two cops would’ve been killed that day if it wasn’t for him,” Alberini said.

That day was in July of 2013. A man was holed up in an Ashland home, armed with a shotgun. Alberini said Dax was sent in, and bit the man as he reached for the weapon which gave officers a chance to take the man down.

Ashland Police K9 Dax (WBZ-TV)

Alberini spoke with WBZ after it happened. “I remember sitting at home with him afterwards and just looking at him,” he said. “I couldn’t believe that this dog who is my partner, in the car every day, saved my life.”

For his efforts Dax made history, becoming the first canine to be awarded the Hanna Memorial Award for bravery. It’s the highest honor for law enforcement officers in Massachusetts.

Ashland Police Sgt. Chris Alberini (WBZ-TV)

Before retiring, the 13-year-old German Shepherd received one more honor becoming a sergeant. In his last radio call, the dispatcher said, “K9 Dax, we thank you for your 11 years of faithful service to our agency, and to the community…Enjoy your retirement, you have certainly earned it.”

On top of the promotion to sergeant, the town also declared February 20 will now be known as “Dax Day.”

Sgt. Alberini has another K9 partner now named Ajax, who lives with him and Dax at his family home.

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