"We Started Together" — K9 Handler Can't Hold Back Tears At Four-Legged Friend's Funeral

Steven said Cliff was his first canine trainee when they both began work at the department in 2018.

Cover image via Jabatan Bomba dan Penyelamat Malaysia Negeri Sarawak (Facebook)

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The Sarawak Fire and Rescue Department (Bomba) held an emotional ceremony yesterday, 4 January, to bid farewell to one of its K9 comrades, Cliff, who had served in the unit for six years

The department shared on Facebook that Cliff died last month due to complications caused by a bladder tumour.

His handler, 47-year-old Steven Ambu, told The Borneo Post that the dog showed no signs of illness and expressed regret that Cliff died on Christmas Day.

Sarawak Bomba wrote that Steven could not hold back tears as his canine companion was finally laid to rest at the Serian fire station grounds on Thursday.

Steven said Cliff was his first canine trainee when he began work at the department in 2018

"We started together in the same year; I reported in early, while Cliff joined in December 2018," he said.

Describing his canine companion, the handler was proud to say Cliff was always an obedient dog, and demonstrated remarkable characteristics during rescue operations.

Steven added that Cliff was an English Springer Spaniel born in January 2016, and was trained in cadaver detection.

Sarawak Bomba director Datu Khirudin Drahman also paid a touching tribute to the fallen canine, calling Cliff's death a tragedy for the team

"The loss of Cliff is not just a tragedy but a personal loss for his handler, Steven, who has been inseparable from him since Cliff was a small puppy.

"Losing Cliff feels like losing a cherished family member, and today, we witness the genuine sorrow on Steven's face," he told the Sarawak daily.

"From bathing to taking medication, every aspect of life was shared. In losing Cliff, we recognise the depth of the bond that echoes the sentiment that a dog is truly man's best friend," he added.

Steven (second from left), Khirudin, (third from left) and other firefighters sharing a moment of silence to honour Cliff at his funeral yesterday, 4 January.

Image via New Sarawak Tribune

Khirudin added that Cliff played a crucial role in many time-sensitive rescue missions, where they had to locate victims quickly to prevent fatal delays

"His remarkable abilities streamlined the process of finding and rescuing victims, ensuring immediate emergency assistance and hospital care," he said.

The dog had participated in more than 10 firefighting operations, and had also successfully located lost victims in risky river areas in Ulu Skrang and Long Miri.

Watch the team give Cliff a proper send off yesterday:

K9 unit dogs are not only cute, but are also held in high regard for helping to solve crimes:

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