AURORA, Colo. (CBS4) – An ex-military dog is recovering after getting life-saving surgery on Wednesday. That surgery was made possible by generous Coloradans.

CBS4 first reported Kay earlier this month. He spent years in Afghanistan detecting IEDs but now is retired with his handler in Brighton.

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Kay (credit: CBS)

Kay (credit: CBS)

Upon finding out he needed a $6,000 heart surgery his owners, Brandon and Brandi Donahue, found support and help online.

“He is my 4 legged hero,” said Brandi.

Kay has lost some hair but the heart surgery patient has won the love of thousands of Coloradans.

“Still in shock, I still feel like I’m dreaming,” said Brandi.

Brandon and Brandi’s page raised more than $9,000 in just hours after CBS4 first aired his story, which allowed Kay to get the surgery he needed.

“I didn’t expect it at all, it was amazing,” said Brandon.

Brandon was the pit bull-Labrador mix’s handler in Afghanistan where the dog saved lives sniffing bombs.

“I’d like to say that I lead the way when we were out on missions, but in reality he did,” Brandon said.

“We were in and out of surgery in less than an hour,” said Dr. Catriona MacPhail with CSU Veterinary Hospital.

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Kay’s doctor said the operation was a success. A tumor on his heart was causing fluid buildup, which could have been deadly.

“We believe these ones are really slow growing, that’s why were optimistic for his future,” said MacPhail.

It was a life-saving move made possible through the generosity of strangers.

“Really wish I knew who they were,” said Brandon.

The Donahues say they’ve also been flooded with messages from Kay’s past comrades in the military.

“I am so thankful to everyone,” said Brandi.

As Kay recovers his owners say they’re overwhelmed with gratitude to everyone who donated,

Brandon and Brandi Donahue with Kay (credit; CBS)

Brandon and Brandi Donahue with Kay (credit; CBS)

“He put his life in danger more than I did,” Brandon said. “It just means the world that we were able to return the favor and help him out.”

Kay still does have a tumor on his heart, so he will have many more doctor’s appointments to come, but the good news is that instead of looking at weeks to months of life, he’s now looking at years.

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