FOX VALLEY, Wis. (WBAY) - Police K-9s, like Pyro, are more than just dogs. He's a working member of the Green Bay Police Department but also a part of his handler Officer Scott Salzmann's family.
Fond du Lac Police K-9 Grendel after being shot in 2011 (WBAY file photo)
Fond du Lac Police Officer Ryan Williams knows what Salzmann and his K-9 partner, Pyro, are going through. It was back in 2011 when Williams' K-9 partner of five years, Grendel, was shot in the line of duty. Williams was also wounded.
It's horrible!" say Williams. "It's like a real partner, it's like a real person that would get hurt in the line of duty, doing their job. Especially the unknown, you don't know if the dog is going to fully recover. Are they going to be able to perform like they did before?"
Just like Pyro, Grendel was treated at the Fox Valley Animal Referral Center. Williams can't say enough about the care his K-9 received as the two returned to work -- together -- just a couple of months after being shot.
"We still stay in touch with them, and we don't even take a dog up there anymore but if we ever had an emergency I would go there because they are just amazing people, amazing people to work with," says Williams.
Speaking from experience, Williams knows Pyro has a long road to recovery and having his handler with him along the way helps, but so does the support from the community as Pyro works to get back on the job.
Williams adds, "From my situation, I know that my dog got more cards than I did, and I'm okay with that. He's a lot cuter than me, he's a lot more fluffier than me, so I understand that and my heart goes out to the dog, too, because all they want to do is please their handler, and that's all they want to do, and that particular breed, they live for the work, and I just hope that he's able to continue to do it at some point."