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      Deputy still recovering from K-9 loss

      Its been three weeks since Master Deputy Warren Cavanaugh lost one of his best friends in the line of duty. His canine Fargo; who worked side by side with him for nearly six years.

      "We were a team. And that prematurely got taken away and it hurts."

      On December 16, Cavanaugh, Fargo and other Richland County deputies were on the lookout for Maurice McCreary. Authorities got a call that McCreary robbed a North Columbia store at gunpoint. After being spotted by Fargo, investigators say McCreary shot the dog three times. The canine died hours later.

      Cavanaugh not only worked with Fargo, but also made him part of his family, bringing Fargo into his home and creating a strong bond.

      "He knew what I was going to do before I did it. I knew what he was going to do before he did it. When we were close to catching somebody, he knew what I was going to do and I knew what he was going to do."

      In 2011, Fargo tracked down more suspects that any other K-9 in the department; and Cavanaugh knows Fargo sacrificed his life for his partner.

      "Had Fargo not been there and not been as good as he was and maybe missed him, that would've been me; anybody else that was helping us that night. It could've been any of us."

      Cavanaugh has received counseling from the department. But he said the support he has received from people nationwide is what is helping him heal.

      "I've gotten thousands of texts, thousands of cards, emails, calls. I need to say thank you. They do mean a lot."

      And the deputy knows he will be back with his sidekick one day.

      "Goodbye means you're never going to see him again; so I said see you later. You might catch us talking to each other in the car. I have to say that still goes on. He just doesn't talk back but he's there. I know he's there."

      The department has paid for a new canine that will arrive Monday from Holland. Cavanaugh expects the training and bonding period to last between 8-25 weeks.