In Depth: K-9 fought crime, now fights cancer - KMSP-TV

In Depth: K-9 fought crime, now fights cancer

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NEW HOPE, Minn. (KMSP) -

When it comes to the world of police officers, partners come and go -- but when one as loyal as Officer Todd Black's partner, Jack, has to leave the force early, everyone feels the loss.

The crime duo has served the community of New Hope, Minn., for the past six years. Black trained with Jack since the German Shepard arrived from the Czech Republic.

Officer and dog are together 24 hours a day, seven days a week -- at work and at home, as is the case with most K-9 units. That may be why Black noticed right away when Jack wasn't feeling well. The dog was lethargic and wasn't eating.

After a visit to the veterinarian, it was determined Jack had a mass next to his spleen. Surgery was conducted at Blue Pearl Hospital in Eden Prairie to remove it and the troubled organ. Further tests would be done to determine if the mass was cancer.

In the meantime, Black and his chief decided that Jack needed to retire immediately. Although he was just eight years old, the dog would never be able to stand up to the physical demands of the job due to his condition. That also meant the city wouldn't pay to take care of Jack anymore.

So, for a dollar, Black adopted Jack and his sudden medical bills. Surgery to remove Jack's tumor at BluePearl Veterinary Partners cost more than $2,700.

"I didn't even think twice about it 'cause, like I said, he watched my back all these years," said Black.

While the surgery and his recovery went well, the cancer diagnosis did not bring good news.

Jack is now fighting cancer. This particular type usually starts in the spleen and often spreads to other organs in the abdomen.

Jack's veterinarian says chemotherapy may help the dog live two or three times as long.

Dr. Heather Hadley, of BluePearl Veterinary Partners, explained that it's not unusual to see animals and their owners have close bonds, but she believes the loyalty between Jack and Officer Black is unique and special.

Jack has already undergone one session of chemotherapy and needs four more. So far, Jack has not felt any bad side-effects from the treatment, which means he's been able to enjoy his retirement with frequent visits to the park with Black.

A national foundation affiliated with BluePearl called Frankie's Friends paid for Jacks surgery because of his service to the community, but the additional chemotherapy sessions will cost more than $3000.

Because the police department is no longer paying for Jack's care, a special fund has been set up to help Officer Black pay for Jack's chemotherapy.

If you would like to help, more information about the fund can be found below.

Todd Black Donation Fund/Trust for Jack
Wells Fargo Bank
8320 42nd Ave. N
New Hope, MN 55427
(612) 316-3500

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