Bomb-sniffing Chattanooga Police dog receives life-saving - WRCBtv.com | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

Bomb-sniffing Chattanooga Police dog receives life-saving surgery

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CHATTANOOGA, TN (WRCB) -

A Chattanooga Police dog is on the path to recovery thanks to the hands of some skillful doctors. The bomb-sniffing dog, Rip, had to go under the knife because of a potentially deadly infection.

Before coming to the Chattanooga Police Department, he served three tours in Afghanistan. His handler and the rest of the department are so thankful Rip is now recovering from life-saving surgery.

"We're actually really happy to see him like this," says Dr. Stefanie Sullivan.

Rip may be all smiles and wags now but that was not the case just a few weeks ago.

"He was having some difficulty breathing, which the handler had noticed," says Sullivan.

It turns out, the six-year-old lab had an abscess in his chest and fluid was building up around his lungs.

"His lungs couldn't expand because of the amount of fluid on his chest," says Sullivan.

"We made the decision to go ahead that night and take him to surgery," says Dr. David Dycus.

The surgical team at River Vet Emergency immediately went to work, having to cut open Rip's chest.

"It was very serious, a very invasive surgery from him," says Dycus.
    
Rip survived three tours of duty detecting bombs in Afghanistan but his condition threatened his life. With a steady hand, Dycus was able to remove the abscess and bacteria-filled fluid.     

"There was a little bit of extra pressure on, especially learning his past and his tours in the military and what he's done for our country," says Dycus.

Through a military program, Rip now serves Chattanooga Police.
     
"He goes to work 8 hours a day just like a regular officer does. He rides in that car with us. He goes out and he finds guns," says Sgt. Tommy Meeks.

Meeks says he and his team are forever grateful.

"I'm thankful he's a part of our team. And I'm thankful for what they did for us," says Sgt. Meeks.

Rip also grew on the hearts of those who helped save him.

"He's been wonderful. Everybody in the hospital's taken great care of him. They love him. He's been absolutely great," says Sullivan.

"I'm extremely happy about the outcome. I couldn't be happier. You know, a dog that was as sick as he was and had as invasive of a surgery that he had, and the fact that we're two weeks out from surgery and he's does as remarkably well as he is, I'm very excited," says Dycus.

Rip is still on some medication to help him get better. His handler says hopefully he will be back to work in the next month or so.

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