By Dillon Thomas

LONGMONT, Colo. (CBS4) – The Longmont Police Department issued a “thank you” to the community, after they asked the public to help them. K-9 Rudi recently underwent multiple surgeries, after he was injured while searching for a suspect.

The community donated thousands of dollars to help keep him alive.

(credit: CBS)

Rudi’s Handler, Officer Billy Sawyer, told CBS4’s Dillon Thomas his partner was called to assist in the search for a wanted individual in March. When the team arrived on scene, both exited their vehicle, and began their search.

Longmont Police Officer Billy Sawyer with Rudi (credit: CBS)

“Rudi immediately picked up the scent, started tracking over some fences,” Sawyer said.
When Rudi attempted to jump a fence, Sawyer noticed his K-9 struggle, before continuing the search. Sawyer said he believed the dog’s leg slipped.

Longmont Police Officer Billy Sawyer (credit: CBS)

The suspect was located in an apartment complex near 17th and Meadow, where Rudi tracked him.
When Sawyer and Rudi returned home, something was off. Sawyer said Rudi was acting abnormal, and quickly approached him.

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“He kind of runs, and dive bombs upside down, straight into me,” Sawyer said. “Almost as if showing me, ‘Hey check this out, look what happened to me.’”

(credit: CBS)

Sawyer saw a hole in Rudi’s inner leg. When he attempted to clear the fence during the search, the top of the fence snagged him, tearing his leg.

After surgery and 15 days of recovery, Rudi once again was injured.

(credit: CBS)

He started yelping, and kind of looking at his stomach,” Sawyer said. “His intestines were actually now coming out of his stomach, which is not fun at all to see with your best friend.”

Rudi was rushed to a nearby Longmont animal hospital, where emergency surgery was performed.

Sawyer said the back of his vehicle was covered in blood, when they arrived.

(credit: CBS)

“(Rudi) was starting to collapse in my arms, and I thought he was going to die,” Sawyer said. “Thank God we got there as fast as we did, they saved his life.”

Now, back home in recovery, Sawyer was thankful for all who helped donate and save his dog. He said he would have been heartbroken to lose his 3-year-old partner. He also said the excess money donated would go to other K-9’s that were in need of financial help.

Rudi (credit: CBS)

“(Police dogs) put themselves in harm’s way, so we can go home to our families at night, and they are okay with it,” Sawyer said. “But, (Rudi) is a family member to us.”

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.