A long time K-9 police officer has been brought home from the hospital after surgery for a bulging disc in his back, that had left him unable to walk.
Marcus served as K-9 officer for seven years, and did hard physical work every day. His handler, Rusty Cunningham of the Bellaire Police Department said Marcus has done drug work, tracked people, and even apprehended them. Cunningham calls him a “dual purpose dog”.
One Saturday in late September, Marcus couldn’t use his back legs. The OSU veterinary hospital in Columbus diagnosed a bulging disc, and said Marcus needed surgery.
Even before his operation, Marcus kept trying to go to Cunningham, his loyal owner, handler and police partner. “Well as I was saying goodbye to him, he pushed himself up on his back legs again for a second time and tried to follow me out. He had IVs and everything else in him,” he said.
The veterinarians told Rusty to head home, saying Marcus would need to recuperate without distractions. The surgery had a 50-50 chance of restoring feeling to Marcus’ back legs.
The surgery worked, and after being hospitalized for three weeks, Marcus was finally able to go home. Rusty was waiting to pick him up. “Well when they brought him through, he smelled my scent in the room as he passed it, he tracked me out, came out the doors and was air-scenting for me,” he said.
Marcus is now at home with Rusty and his family, facing a lot of rehab and easing back into life on four legs. He is now a retired cop, but remains Rusty’s right hand man. “He’s an amazing boy. He never ceases to amaze me. He made a miraculous recovery up there.”
The Village of Bellaire paid for Marcus’ surgery because he was a member of the police force, but he will start water therapy at Alternative Veterinary Services in St. Clairsville. Donations can be sent to the mayor’s office. It’s the Marcus K-9 Fund, Village of Bellaire, 3197 Belmont Street, Bellaire, Ohio 43906.