TALLMADGE — The city’s police department is waiting to see what will happen following cancer surgery for its veteran police dog Axel.
"We don’t have a final prognosis yet, but it doesn’t look good right now," said Police Chief Ron Williams on Tuesday.
Patrolman Nate Ickes, Axel’s handler since 2012, said Wednesday that he is waiting for a biopsy to be completed, possibly in the next couple of days, to see what happens next.
"He’s doing good after his surgery," said Ickes. "He’s home relaxing and just kind of taking some time off."
The department has one other K-9, Kato, also a German shepherd, who went on duty this past May.
Ickes said he took Axel to Tallmadge Animal Hospital when Axel collapsed while off duty Nov. 4. It was discovered that a tumor on his spleen had burst, filing his abdomen with blood. The tumor and spleen were removed Nov. 8.
"Once we get the results back, we’re going to get a clearer picture of what the plans are going to be for him," said Ickes.
Ickes said another factor is Axel’s age — he turned 9 in July.
"We’re going to remain optimistic, but a lot of times, these [situations] go south," he said. "He’s at the point of retirement anyways, so I don’t know if I want to put him back into that situation … police work. And he’s slated to retire next year, anyway. It’s all going to come down to the biopsy’s results."
Williams said the whole department is awaiting those results.
"We’re saddened," he said. "It was a sudden development. It doesn’t look good. We’re all pulling for him and we hope he comes out of this OK."
Reporter Jeff Saunders can be reached at 330-541-9431, firstname.lastname@example.org or @JeffSaunders_RP.