GRPD K-9 injured in crash calls it a career

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — A Grand Rapids K-9 is officially calling it a career.

The Grand Rapids Police Department announced Tuesday that Dozer, a German Shepherd that was seriously injured in a crash last summer, will not return to work.

Dozer and his handler, GRPD Officer Teddy VanVliet, were heading to investigate a reported breaking and entering around 3 a.m. on Aug. 4 when their cruiser was hit by an SUV at the intersection of Madison Avenue and Hall Street on the city’s southeast side. The SUV was going an estimated 75 miles per hour on impact.

VanVliet was pinned in the cruiser and had to be freed by firefighters but was not seriously hurt. Dozer, however, suffered a severe spinal injury that temporarily paralyzed his hind legs. He has worked with a physical therapist for months but not enough to make it back to work.

“He has made a great deal of progress but has just not recovered the stamina and agility he needs to continue as a working K9,” the department said in a Facebook post. “He has plenty of energy and mobility and the love and care of the VanVliets as he becomes a full-time family dog.”

GRPD also thanked the vet teams that have helped with Dozer’s therapy and the nonprofit organizations that have stepped in to cover his medical costs.

“We are extremely grateful for his medical team, especially Emily Harkness, (Dozer’s) physical therapist at the Cascade Hospital for Animals, who has helped him achieve more progress than we thought possible,” the post read. “We are also thankful his medical costs in retirement will be covered by Project K-9 Hero to continue the care ne heeds to maintain his mobility and quality of life.”.

GRPD investigators are still working to find the people involved in the crash. If you have any information, you can call GRPD at 616.456.3400 or Silent Observer at 616.774.2345.

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