Retired hero police K-9 faces new medical crisis - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

Retired hero police K-9 faces new medical crisis

SPOKANE, Wash. - It was a story that seemed to have a happy ending.  Var the police K-9 recovered from his injuries after a car thief suspect shot him on March 17, 2009.  He later received a purple heart and was officially retired for a second time after 8 years of service.  Now we've learned Var is facing a different kind of threat, a brain tumor.

"It is going to require medical attention in order for him to survive," explained Spokane police officer Brian Eckersley.

Var was examined at Washington State University's Veterinary Hospital, in Pullman, and will need surgery.  Var's former handler officer Dan Lesser, who bought Var when the dog retired, is responsible for Var's medical bills and those bills could run up to $5,000.

Now Spokane police officers are stepping up to help their former partner.  Officers decided on their own to start a private account to help pay for Var's medical needs.

"The dog was between the officer and the bad guy and the dog got shot," said Eckersley. "So are we not obligated to reward that dog and try to take care of him when he needs it, absolutely so that's what we're trying to do."  Eckersley said Var's outcome looks good, if he is able to undergo surgery.

Meanwhile, canine officers are working to create a non-profit fund that would go toward retired police dogs to pay for the medical care a lot of them need, after serving seven to eight years in the department.

Officers plan to take any money left over from Var's fund and donate them to the future retired canine fund.

An account has been set up for Var at the Spokane Law Enforcement Credit Union on 924 West Sinto.  The account number is 4780 and the public is welcome to donate to the fund.

Cindi DeHoog
KHQ Reporter
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