ZIONSVILLE (WISH) — A Zionsville K-9 continues to recover after being hit by a pickup truck during training.
It happened last week when the K-9 chased a ball that bounced into the road.
The accident left 2-year-old Jelka with injuries from a broken leg to a hole in her lung.
Her handler told 24-Hour News 8 he got a call from the vet saying they didn’t think she was going to make it. But now she’s expected to make a full recovery in three to five months.
“The bond is something so strong that she plays off of me, and I can play off of her,” he said.
The bond between K-9 officer Joshua Stutesman and Jelka goes far beyond their work.
“She is a part of our family, so my wife and my other little dog get along great with her,” said K-9 Officer Stutesman. “She’s actually afraid of my other little dog.”
The two have been together since last August, working to track down suspects and drugs for the Zionsville Police Department.
“You can see by her ears pointing up, she already wants to get back to work, and that’s all fun to her. She doesn’t realize that she’s injured,” he said.
Since the accident, Jelka had three surgeries to help repair her broken leg and the hole in her lung.
“She’s been cut from here to back here straight up and down; she’s all stapled. Everything is all fixed; all of her organs and everything seems to be working fine,” he said.
But the vet still had some concerns with Jelka’s leg.
“They were concerned that they might have to amputate the leg, but by God’s grace they didn’t,” he said. “They were able to put a plate in it so it’s plated right here.”
Stutesman was reunited with Jelka this past Friday.
He said he’s glad we can’t see his face in this picture because he was crying.
“You know getting that phone call saying that she may not make it that Wednesday morning and realized here she is walking out on her own strength and still remembering who you are is something I won’t forget forever,” he said.
The support from the community has been overwhelming. A GoFundMe page to help pay for Jelka’s medical bills raised more than $3,000 in two days.
“I’m a big man of faith, and it shows me that the power of prayer is strong,” he said. “The fact the community, not only the Zionsville community, people from all over the United States, have donated to the GoFundMe site– it shows me there are people out there that don’thave to know who you are to know that you’re going through trouble to be there to help you out.”
Stutesman said had it been a car that hit Jelka that day, it would have hit her head. The driver of the truck stayed on scene and has met with Jelka since the accident.
Click here if you would like to help Jelka.