Help K-9 Keeto Walk Again

Help K-9 Keeto walk again. 

My partner is in need of costly veterinary treatment.

Our Story:

Keeto is a recently retired K-9 from the Norwich, CT Police Department. Keeto came to me in 2012 and we served as a team through the best years of our lives. Talented, hard working and loyal; he was the perfect partner. He helped everywhere he went. He protected officers, found people’s missing children and family members, got some guns off the street, lots of violent criminals behind bars, and saved me from physical danger on more than one occasion. More importantly, like any good cop, Keeto was a good citizen. He attended city events, entertained and educated kids and community groups about animals and policing. Working midnights and living together, we shared more time than some of the luckiest families get with one another. Keeto became more than a partner or pet. He was and is my equal, my role model and literal best friend. He’s seen me through the major events of my life. Meeting/ marrying my wife, buying our first home, getting promoted and having a child. Words can’t express my admiration for him; I could go on for days. To make it short, my son’s middle name is Keeto. January 11th of this year, Keeto retired. As is customary, the City transferred ownership, all liability and financial responsibility to me. I was prepared for some expense and extra care as will happen with any older dog (he had just turned 9). He came home to me for what we believed would be his happy, well earned retirement.

Two weeks ago, Keeto seemed lethargic. I had been working a fair bit of overtime, and thought he was just in need of some extra attention. We went in the yard to do some work together. He gave a loud yelp as soon as he left his front feet. Within an hour, Keeto began to lose coordination in his back legs. I rushed him to the emergency vet in our area. The vet told us the issue was spinal, but it would be impossible to know the cause without an MRI (which run about $3,000).  He prescribed meds and advised low activity and confinement for a few weeks. By the next morning, Keeto lost all function and feeling in the back half of his body. We scheduled the MRI. Keeto stabilized; getting no worse, but no better. After some long emotional days of run-around, I was told surgery was a risky option with little likelihood of benefit. I was distraught to find out he would never walk again; but satisfied knowing he could live out a happy life with a cart. I had seen and heard of plenty of dogs living happy functional lives with their “new normal”, able to play and enjoy their remaining years. It would mean lots of work, manually expressing his bladder and bowel, late night cleanings and the inability to leave him at home for more than a couple hours.  We are partners. I owe him the work.

Things changed this week. We were getting ready to go to the specialist so we could fit Keeto for his wheels, when I thought I saw his back leg move on it’s own. While helping him with his business in the yard, his tail appeared to sway. My wife and I concluded it was probably consequence of the way he gets around on only his front paws. When I got to the specialist, she saw it too. She told me his MRI showed a slipped disc and massive hemorrhage pressing on his spine. The odds had been low he would ever regain any motor function prior to this.  Now she said Keeto can and will likely walk again with enough medication, physical therapy and follow through. These things will cost. He will be able to go for a walk, to the bathroom on his own and play in the yard with my son and I. There are no other medical issues preventing him from living out the rest of his life. This is why I decided to swallow my pride and ask for help. 

A fair amount of my friends and coworkers encouraged a go fund me from the beginning. I didn’t jump into it, partly because I thought a permanent resolution was imminent (the cart). I didn’t want to ask, if it was manageable on my own. I had settled on creating a fund for future Norwich K-9s in retirement, so the money would be there if they faced their own catastrophe. Now the vet bills are starting to pile up. Outside of the MRI, we’ve been to multiple appointments with several vets, which are hundreds of dollars each and we’re into specialists. 

I’m humbly and respectfully requesting you’re help. If you’re part of the policing, K-9 or Norwich community. If you’re one of the many lives Keeto has passed through with some positive influence, or simply a dog lover; please consider donating to or sharing this fundraiser. All money will go directly to caring for Keeto and be managed by individuals within my department. Anything above or leftover will be set aside for current and future K-9s, to ensure they have all the training and medical care they need. Thank you on Keeto’s behalf for taking the time to donate, share or even just read his story.
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Nick Rankin
Norwich, CT

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