Beloved Jenkintown police K-9 battles rare condition

JENKINTOWN, Pa. - April 8, 2014

He fights crime and keeps the community safe like any other officer.

"He's found drugs and narcotics in cars and homes he's found burglary suspects," said Sgt. Richard Tucker.

However take one look at the shaved hair on his coat and you know he's been through something.

"While he was here, he fell I'll all of sudden and totally unexpected," said Chief Albert DiValentino.

The 7-year-old German Shepherd is supposed to be in his prime but on March 29th the K-9 had to be taken to the University of Pennsylvania Veterinary Hospital.

"They discovered they had to do emergency surgery or put him down," said Chief DiValentino.

Rocky had a rare and life threatening condition - his colon and intestines had become entangled.

"They removed a large part of his colon and had to fuse the rest back together," said Chief DiValentino.

Sgt. Tucker is Rocky's handler. He's also the one who rushed Rocky to the hospital that night.

"We have a bond. I protect him, he protects me. It's a different bond than people realize because you're with that animal so much," he said.

The doctors saved Rocky's life. But now the department is trying to find a way to pay for his surgery.

"Unfortunately for us, Rocky didn't have insurance at the time. The surgery started at $8,000," said Sgt. Tucker.

The department is asking for help to cover those costs and says saving Rocky's life was the only choice, after all he's family.

"We chose for him to have surgery. He's too valuable a member of the force and the community," said Chief DiValentino.

Rocky underwent the surgery but is not out of the woods yet. Doctors will continue to monitor him over the next few weeks.

The department says anyone who would like to donate towards Rocky's medical bills can contact them at their headquarters located at 700 Summit Avenue, Jenkintown, PA 19046 or call 215-885-0700.

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