Radford Police need public help after emergency retirement of police dog

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RADFORD, Va. (WDBJ7) The Radford Police Department said goodbye to one of their service dogs after an emergency retirement. Now the city needs the public's help in getting a replacement.

Robbie the K9 spent his more than seven year life completely in service, even before joining the Radford canine unit.

His partner and owner Master Police Officer Michael Jenkins explained, "He was with the United States Navy, he was with the special warfare group commonly known as the United States Navy Seals. He was deployed to Afghanistan."

In 2011, he was donated to the department and immediately partnered with Officer Jenkins.

Robbie was responsible detecting explosives and tracking down criminals. He even searched cars at Radford High School football games and Radford University graduations.

That was, until May when Officer Jenkins came home from the gym to a strange noise.

"I could hear him in his kennel and it sounded like he was digging," Officer Jenkins said. "I went out to check on him and he was having a seizure."

Robbie was rushed to the vet and eventually Virginia Tech.

He had renal failure and suffered a stroke; His police career was over.

Thankfully, however, Robbie overcame his kidney issues and hasn't had any other seizures or strokes healthy now.

Monday night the Radford City Council officially accepted his retirement and granted him to Officer Jenkins permanently.

"He basically is living the life of a normal pet now," Officer Jenkins said of the retirement. "He can have treats without earning them, he can have his toys without earning them, anything he wants he can do."

But while Robbie enjoys retirement, the department is now scrambling to afford a replacement dog.

Another canine was not factored into the budget because no one expected this medical emergency.

Officers said it will cost between $12,000 - $15,000 to purchase the right dog and properly train it.

The department is collecting donations and Paddleyax Kayaks has donated a brand new kayak to be raffled off on the Fourth of July.

Tickets to the raffle can be picked up in the lobby of the Radford City Police Department.

Those wishing to make a donation or wanting more information can contact Senior K-9 Officer Rob Stultz at 540-440-6214.

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