FORT COLLINS, Colo. (CBS4) – Only weeks after undergoing life-threatening surgeries, a Fort Collins K9 could be on the fast track to a full return.
“Yago,” the canine partner of FCPS Officer Brett Dollar, underwent multiple surgeries in February. His first surgery removed a benign tumor on his hip. Shortly after, Yago’s intestines turned.
Emergency surgery was needed, as blood flow to vital organs could be disrupted.
“I was scared for his life for three, or four, days there,” Dollar said. “It was clear that there was an acute crisis. The signs of shock were obvious. His lips were pale. It was really creepy, his lips were cold.”
Dollar said she attempted to feed Yago. When he denied the meal, she knew she was fortunate to realize there was an issue, before it was too late.
“Most dogs don’t even make it to surgery,” Dollar said.
Dr. Kevin McAbee, a special surgeon, was called in for emergency surgery on a Sunday night.
As a result of the operation, more than three feet of Yago’s small intestine were removed.
Yago successfully made it through the operation. McAbee said more than 95 percent of dogs that undergo the same operation loose their life. Most of which, according to McAbee, do before the procedure is completed.
After weeks of intense rehab and recovery, Yago’s drive returned.
“It was exciting when [Yago’s] attitude started coming back,” Dollar said.
“[Yago looked] so much better than [he] did before,” McAbee told CBS4’s Dillon Thomas, as Yago returned for a checkup. “It’s truly a miraculous recovery. I don’t think I have ever seen another dog recover this well.”
Yago had regained his ability to play, run, and jump.
After only weeks of recovery from an often-fatal procedure, Officer Dollar showed off Yago’s ability to continue sniffing for drugs.
Dr. McAbee said a full-recovery, with ability to return to complete K9 duty, could take more than a month longer.
With few extended-periods ever spent apart, McAbee said Dollar’s presence throughout the whole ordeal most likely encouraged Yago to press on.
Officer Dollar said she hoped to have Yago back “on the streets” doing intermediate work, as his recover continued, in the coming weeks.
With eyes filled with tears, Dollar said she was grateful her partner of five years decided to continue fighting.
“He’s my best buddy. Obviously, I wanted him to be okay,” Dollar said. “I’m proud of [Yago,] and extremely grateful for everyone that made it happen.”
Dillon Thomas is a reporter at CBS4 and a Colorado native. He believes everyone has a story, and would love to share yours! You can find more of his stories by following him on Twitter, @DillonMThomas.