K-9 Takes a Bullet for His Partner

  1. Wounded deputy can't wait to see injured K-9 buddy

    By Bobby Caina Calvan - Bee Staff Writer
    Published 12:00 am PDT Thursday, June 7, 2007
    Story appeared in MAIN NEWS section, Page A18

    El Dorado County sheriff's deputy Jon Yaws and his canine partner Donder reunited Thursday at Sutter Roseville. Yaws, Donder and fellow deputies Greg Murphy, far left, and Melissa Meekma were injured Monday in a shootout with a gunman in the hills of El Dorado County. Sacramento Bee/Carl Costas

    If he could only tell you, he would probably express his thanks. But excuse Donder if he's not quite the dog he used to be.
    He can't sleep. He can't rest. He's probably in a bit of pain.
    Donder took a bullet to the chest Tuesday during a Shingle Springs shootout that wounded three deputies -- including Donder's handler, El Dorado Sheriff's Deputy Jon Yaws, who was shot at least three times.

    The deputies are being hailed as heroes -- but so, too, is Donder, a 6-year-old Belgian Tervuren who has melted hearts.
    "Godspeed and a full recovery to all three officers and, of course, Donder," stated a message posted Wednesday on The Bee's Web site.
    "I've spoken to quite a few people, and they all want to know how's the dog," said Deputy Mark Fletcher, who is temporarily caring for the K-9 while Yaws recuperates from his own injuries.
    For the record, Donder is doing well -- though his chest is bandaged, and so is his left leg because of a 4-inch gash. Barbed wire also cut his nose.
    A plastic sheath -- an Elizabethan collar -- prevents Donder from gnawing at his wounds.
    "He just wants 24-hour attention," Fletcher said. He "wants to know everything's OK."
    Fletcher recounted a conversation with Yaws, whom he described as his best friend.
    "One of his first concerns, besides the welfare of his fellow deputies, was about Donder. He was just really concerned about the well-being of his dog."
    About five years ago, while responding to a call, Yaws shot a suspect who stabbed a previous canine partner.
    The bond between K-9 officers and their dogs is deep. So is the passion of animal lovers.
    "Obviously, people are concerned about the deputies themselves, but a lot of people are passionate about their concern" for Donder, said Lt. Kevin House, department spokesman.
    The concern is widespread.
    "Everybody I talked to expressed concern as much for the dog as for the deputies -- and maybe more so," joked Fletcher, whose partner, Kwinto, is a Belgian Malinois.
    "The dogs are here to help us, so deputies don't get injured."
    Donder arrived at the scene with Yaws on Tuesday as shots rang out on Tammy Lane. A second dog arrived later to help rouse the suspect as he lay motionless in nearby woods.
    Donder was not wearing a bulletproof vest -- despite a $10,000 gift five years ago by an El Dorado Hills couple who wanted sheriff's dogs to have vests.
    "They didn't use it yesterday, and I'm upset about it," said Judi Hill, who donated the money with her husband, Ken Hill.
    "If it had been my dog, especially if there was gunfire, I would have taken the time to put the vest on -- but I guess I wasn't there," said Hill.
    On Tuesday, barbed wire, fencing and brush could have endangered Donder if he had been wearing a vest, Fletcher said. It is left for K-9 officers such as Yaws to make the call.
    A reunion is being arranged today between Yaws and Donder, Fletcher said. "He really wants to see his dog."

    Donder, a K-9 police dog with the El Dorado County Sheriff's Department, recuperates from a bullet wound in the chest and a gashed leg. Special to The Bee/Mark Fletcher

  2. Wishing you a speedy recovery, Donder!
  3. awwwww! little sweetheart. I'm a little stumped as to why they did not put the bulletproof vest on Donder. It's pretty lame, considering Donder could have died...but maybe it all happened to quickly or something...anyways i hope they all have a full recovery.
  4. Awww!!! Best wishes for a speedy recovery for all. Thanks for sharing!!!
  5. "On Tuesday, barbed wire, fencing and brush could have endangered Donder if he had been wearing a vest..."

    I guess they were probably worried the vest would get caught on something and he would get stuck.
  6. poor thing. I'm glad he survived though.

    I donated money to Pennies for Police dogs. I think it's just in Florida but it was started by a little girl who wanted to collect money for dogs to get bullet proof vests since they don't always have the funding for that. It's a shame that in this case they had the vest but he didn't wear it. I guess they had to make that decision so he wouldn't get caught in the bushes though.
  7. Hoping for a speedy recovery for the policemen and the dog.
  8. Speedy recovery for the policemen and Donner :heart: and I pray that all the K-9 dogs will put on their bullet-proof vest. Their lives are just as important. :flowers:
  9. Awwww..Poor Donder! :crybaby: I wish Donder & the police officers a speedy recovery! :idea: :heart:

  10. ITA. IMHO, if a dog is to be considered a 'K9 officer' then they deserve ALL of the protection that a human police officer gets.:yes:
  11. God bless those officers and God bless Donder!

    Here's to a speedy recovery!

    (Hes hould have been wearing the vest, though.)