BRIGHTON, Colo. (CBS4) – He is a retired military working dog who only has a few months left to live — unless he gets a lifesaving operation that will cost thousands of dollars.

Kay now lives in Brighton but spent years in the military, and his owners say euthanization just isn’t an option — so they’re turning to the public for help.

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Kay (credit: CBS)

Kay (credit: CBS)

In many ways he’s a dog like any other. Kay, a 9-year-old pit bull-Labrador mix, loves a good scratch behind the ear, and lives for a game of fetch. But he’s no ordinary dog – he’s spent most of his life as a military work dog.

“There are 20 different types of explosives that they can find,” Kay’s handler turned owner Spc. Brandon Donahue said.

Rescued from a Texas animal shelter as a puppy, Kay has spent years in training, and in action; perhaps most notably a year in Afghanistan with Donahue.

“We’d lead the way and clear paths for foot soldiers,” Donahue said.

Day in and day out Kay and Donahue searched for IEDs.

“After a couple minutes he would sit, and that’s when I would know that there’s something there,” Donahue said.

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But now the dog who warned others of danger is in danger himself. Kay needs surgery to fix a fluid buildup around his heart.

“With the surgery he could live another 5, 6 years.”

Without the surgery he’ll live only a few more months.

“So this is the best shot we have.”

But the surgery carries a price tag of $6,000. Fresh from the military, Donahue and his wife don’t have the fast cash, so they’ve turned to a fundraising website to help pay for it. Donahue says even though the experimental surgery is pricey, he’s not willing to give up on the dog who never let him down.

“It’s worth a shot.”

Kay just had a procedure to help delay the symptoms of his condition but still does not have a lot of time.

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