Const. Eric Hembruff with Luke, a serving member of the Toronto Police Dog Services who died recently.

They’re some of the city’s grittiest crime investigators, sniffing out narcotics, looking for clues at shooting scenes and helping to find missing children.

They are often the unsung heroes of the Toronto Police Service, but they have earned the respect of some of the toughest officers on the force.

Toronto police are mourning two service dogs who died from illness last week.

General patrol dog Luke and narcotics and firearms detector dog Keno leave behind a team of 29 dogs.

Service dogs live with their police handlers, becoming part of the officer’s family.

“The relationship you form with a canine partner is very special; it’s completely different than your own dog,” said Const. Jennifer Powis of Police Dog Services.

Training Sgt. Paul Caissie had similar thoughts. “To lose two dogs affected us for our strength as well as the good work we do on a day-to-day basis,” Caissie said in a statement.

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