Unlike cats, dogs don’t have nine lives, but thanks to a highly skilled EMS crew and an airlift to an emergency animal hospital, a Pennsylvania police dog named Zeke may have two.
Zeke was shot by a fleeing suspect during a gunfight with police. Because of the nature of the injury and proximity to Rossmoyne Animal Emergency Trauma Center, police made the rare request of airlifting the wounded animal.
“The helicopter made the difference here,” veterinarian Mark Meyerhoff, who performed the emergency surgery, explained in a statement.
In hindsight, while the decision likely saved the dog’s life, some may wonder what kind of a precedent this decision will set. According to Lynn Doherty, an administrator for the medevac helicopter, the decision was based on the fact that police dogs are considered–and should be treated as–sworn law enforcement officers who protect and serve the public.
“I think it’s always going to be on a case-by-case basis, because I really want to limit it to law enforcement and emergency service canines. I don’t want to expand this to any other kind of animal,” she explained, adding, “I know if I had to make the same snap decision, with the same circumstances, I would do the same thing.”
Zeke lost 15 percent of his blood and underwent a two hour emergency surgery, according to the Patriot News, and the canine is expected to make a full recovery.
“Zeke’s our hero,” Capt. Annette Oates of Harrisburg Police Department told the local newspaper. “He’s one of us. We’re so happy he’s made a full recovery. He’s a fighter – a crime fighter.”