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Calif. K-9 bounces back from near-fatal illness

Carr, a German shepherd turning 9 in June and the most senior of five canine officers in the force, is back on duty

By Jenny Espino
Redding Record Searchlight

REDDING, Calif. — Redding police dog Carr is back at work after making a speedy recovery from a potentially-fatal illness.

Carr, a German shepherd turning 9 in June and the most senior of five canine officers in the force, returned to the job Jan. 2, two weeks earlier than his handler, officer Jason Rhoads, had thought when his partner was still home recovering from emergency surgery brought on by a bout of bloat.

"He's back to normal pretty much," said Rhoads, who waited for the veterinarian to clear Carr to resume his duties on city streets.

That Thursday evening, Carr was excited as he jumped into the car. At the police station, Rhoads took him into the briefing room and let him run around so he could greet the officers.

"Everybody was glad that he was back," Rhoads said.

Carr this week joined the Redding Police K9 Unit at the Elks Lodge to accept more than $2,000 in donations and proceeds from the organization's car show.

Communities for Police Canines, which promotes and helps fund police dogs in Redding, is raising money to pay for Carr's replacement a year or two down the road as well as to buy bulletproof vests for all five dogs.

Kellie Hamilton, CPC president, said sometimes the dogs have close calls with suspects.

"They'll come up on someone not wanting to come out when they're there to be arrested. The dogs will get their ears pulled. There's a tussle that takes place, so it would be nice to have that protection, where if there are bullets flying that these dogs at least have the main part of their body protected," she said.

Carr wound up on the surgery table on Dec. 6 after he developed the life-threatening condition in which the stomach fills with gas.

The expansion of the stomach puts pressure on the diaphragm, making it difficult for the dog to breathe. If untreated, it can damage internal organs and cause death.

Carr had a minor relapse after his first days back and needed to go back on medication, Hamilton said.

He's fine now, but Rhoads is keeping a close eye because the condition can reoccur.

He said graveyard shift duties have been routine, with a lot of room and building checks done.

"I'm sure he was acting as if he was better so he could get to go," Hamilton said. "It's hard for them (to stay put) because they're probably thinking, 'Wait. Where are you going without me? You're in your uniform. You're firing up your car. And that means I get to go with you.'"

Carr, who was raised in the Czech Republic, joined Redding police on Nov. 21, 2007.

Copyright 2014 the Redding Record Searchlight


McClatchy-Tribune News Service

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