COLLEGE STATION, Texas — A Houston Police K-9 will head to the Texas A&M Veterinary Medical Teaching Hospital on Friday where he will undergo surgery to amputate one of his legs, reports The Eagle, a Bryan-College Station local newspaper.
The K-9 officer has been battling bone cancer since he was diagnosed in December.
"These dogs are like your children," said T-Rex's handler, Officer Paul Foster. "You spend every day with your dog, and you worry about them hurting themselves."
Foster and T-Rex teamed up when the Belgian Malinois was just over a year old. They've spent a lot of time together, and Foster knows the way T-Rex moves and behaves. That's why in early December, he noticed that when T-Rex would hop out of the patrol vehicle, he wasn't walking properly.
Foster took the dog to a Houston veterinarian, and during an X-ray of the dog's left leg, a few unusual spots and specks were located. It was determined T-Rex had bone cancer, and he would need more specialized treatment.
"A lot of the veterinarians at that clinic are Texas A&M [alumni], and they know the oncology department at the [TAMU Veterinary Medical Hospital]," Foster said. "Texas A&M was their first choice for T-Rex, and it was mine as well."
T-Rex was taken to College Station a few weeks ago and his doctors at A&M determined that if T-Rex was to live a full life -- hopefully another five or six years -- he would most likely need to lose his leg.
Being wounded has its perks, though. Formerly, T-Rex had lived at Foster's home as an outside dog in a large 11'X 11' backyard kennel, separate from the family's smaller pets. But with his injury, he now has been converted to an inside dog and has been provided a special Tempurpedic dog bed.
Though T-Rex is predicted to have a long, happy life without his back left leg, Foster will miss his partner on regular patrols.
Foster will continue to keep T-Rex as a part of the family and take him on special assignments, but ultimately will need to acquire a new K-9 partner to run SWAT missions and patrols.
"It's eerily quiet in the back of my patrol car," Foster said, noting he misses the barking and slobbering from the back seat. "I didn't realize how comforting it was to have him there."
On his last patrol call, T-Rex injured himself cornering a suspected burglar during a foot chase.
T-Rex has worked with HPD since 2015. He has helped catch more than 100 criminal suspects and has worked major events like the 2017 Super Bowl and World Series baseball games, looking for explosives.