GOLDEN, Colo. (KDVR) — There were emotional moments Thursday as a Jefferson County Sheriff’s deputy, whose K-9 was killed in the line of duty, spoke about losing his beloved patrol partner.

That dog died after being shot while chasing an armed suspect on the Colorado School of Mines campus earlier this week. Deputy Zach Oliver said he and his K-9, Graffit, were inseparable.

“Every time he (Graffit) would look at me, (it was like he was) saying, ‘Dad, is it time for me to come out? Do I get to come out? Do I get to play? Do I get to do my job?'” Oliver said.

K-9 ‘absolutely everything’ to partner’s family

Graffit was killed chasing a man police said had a gun on the School of Mines campus in Golden. Graffit went into a wooded area to find the suspect in the dark of night when he was shot and killed.

“It’s my partner. It’s not just mine, it’s my whole department’s partner. He’s been on calls for many of us. And he sacrificed himself so that me and my partners didn’t get killed,” Oliver said.

Graffit had helped make many felony arrests and narcotics seizures.

The 10-year-old German shepherd took commands in German and Czech and was from Budapest. He loved his work and his family.

“He was everything to us, absolutely everything to us,” said Oliver’s wife, Alicia Oliver. “It’s not fair, and I have my husband. He saved many lives that day, and my children have a father because of him. It’s really hard.”

K-9 shooter arrested on animal cruelty

As a K-9 handler, Oliver said tougher laws are needed in Colorado when it comes to punishing people who kill them. Other K-9 handlers agree.

“For this to happen, and for the charge to be cruelty to animals, that should not happen,” Jefferson County K-9 trainer Jim Valbert said.

Graffit was not wearing a bulletproof vest the night he was killed. The dog was sent in without one immediately, FOX31 was told, because lives were at threat on the school campus.

“I’ll never get over this,” Oliver said.

The deputy said his 80-pound friend, tall and skinny with “big feet,” was his hero. And will never be forgotten.

Oliver said he’s not sure when he’ll be back on patrol with a dog — too early for that — but that his whole life, all he’s wanted to be was a K-9 officer.

Oliver said he would be willing to go before the legislature and testify to help get tougher sentences for people who kill police dogs.

The Jefferson County Sheriff’s Department is in the process of making memorial plans for Grafit.