Crossville Police Department Lt. Bart Riden is calling his fallen partner, K-9 Cain, a hero.

"I know he gave his life protecting me," Riden said.

K-9 Cain was killed Wednesday after he was involved in a short pursuit of 28-year-old Dustin Dixon, who police said stole a semi-truck early that morning.

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With Cain's death, their bond may be broken, but will never be forgotten.

"You ride around with a guy for 12 hours a day for three years, you spend more time with him than you do anybody so you develop those real special relationships with them, you know. I'm really going to miss him," Riden said.

Cain was a hard hitter, a smart K-9 and was right every time, according to Riden.

"He had as much drive to find somebody as he did to go find drugs," Riden said.

MORE: Police K-9s and handlers form strong bonds

He was not only Riden's partner, but also his best friend.

Riden said what happened Wednesday was a K-9 officer's worst nightmare.

After Cain was stabbed, Riden took him immediately to the vet but his injuries were serious, so they took him to the UT Vet School immediately.

With lights and sirens, Cain was on Riden's lap in the backseat of a cruiser. A few minutes into the drive, Cain stopped breathing.

Chris South with the Crossville Fire Department jumped in the backseat to help.

"He did CPR, he did chest compressions on my dog for 40 miles," Riden said, choking up. "He's earned my respect forever he was our hero that day."

MORE: Services set for fallen Crossville K-9

It was a selfless act from one hero to another.

"I'm really going to miss him. That's all there is too it. I'm really going to miss my dog," Riden said.

Cain was doing his job, no doubt a difficult one, all to keep his handler out of harm's way.

The suspect police say stabbed Cain repeatedly is charged with intentional killing of a domestic animal, among other charges.

Riden said he wants to change the law for killing a police K-9 to carry a harsher punishment. He said the current charge doesn't hold enough consequence, and he plans to speak to state leaders and local lawmakers soon.