K-9 survives cancer; now back fighting crime

(WLFI Photo, file)

LAFAYETTE, Ind. (WLFI) – A Lafayette police officer returns to the force after his fight with cancer, but this officer will be returning on four legs instead of two.

Tommy is a K-9 officer who has been serving the Greater Lafayette community for seven years. His handler LPD Officer Ron Dombkowski noticed that Tommy had a large mass growing on his right side, so he took him to Purdue’s Animal Hospital where they found Tommy was in the early stages of cancer.

“When I took him in, they said we had caught it early and they wanted to remove the growth off of him,” said Dombkowski.

Tommy spent almost seven hours in surgery, and he was off work for a month. But since he’s been back, he hasn’t missed a beat.

“Feels great, the guys out on the street definitely welcome him back with open arms,” Dombkowski said. “He’s back to where he left off.”

According to instant check mate, K-9 officers can search an area four times faster with a much higher accuracy than humans. They also have a sense of smell 10,000 times more intense.

With specializing in taking bad guys and drugs off of the streets, Dombkowski said it was important to have Tommy back on the force.

“He’s a dual-purpose narcotics, detection dog. He also tracks people down sometimes, and in some occasions has to bite them,” said Dombkowski.

K-9 officers can be male or female, they’re usually imported from Europe, and often times their commands are in Dutch.

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