EVERETT — He was a nose from getting his sheriff badge.
Now he’s on duty as a pampered pet.
Rex, the newest canine member of the Snohomish County Sheriff’s Office, had completed most of his training when injured on Jan. 7.
“It was a freak accident,” said Courtney O’Keefe, sheriff’s spokesperson. “He was working on clearing the building which is one of the times they are off leash. He jumped over a balcony on the third story and fell to the first floor.”
The 16-month-old shepherd landed on his front legs, harming the tendons and ligaments in his elbows and wrists.
Lucky for him, he has back legs to stand on.
Rex had surgery last week at the Animal Surgical and Orthopedic Center in Shoreline. His front wrists were fused and a metal implant was placed over the fusion.
The cost of surgery, treatment and rehab is expected to be at least $25,000. O’Keefe said dogs are not medically insured through the county.
A GoFundMe campaign by the nonprofit Snohomish County K9 Foundation raised over $37,000. Donations of $10 to $1,000 poured in, with cards, gifts and get well messages for Rex.
Extra money might be used to purchase another canine to fill Rex’s spot as a working dog.
Rex was adopted in October 2020 through a grant from the Stillaguamish Tribe of Indians. He lives with his handler, Sgt. Ryan Boyer, who after the injury wrapped Rex in his patrol jacket to comfort the dog on the way to the vet.
Rex is the sixth dog on the force. He is a Belgian Malinois, a medium-size shepherd dog that at first glance resembles a German shepherd.
“He had finished 370 hours of the 400 required to become certified in Washington,” O’Keefe said. “We are really bummed and hoping for a miracle.”
Meantime, he’s laying low, hanging out with his family.
“For now, Rex’s job is to rest,” Boyer said. “He is taking many medications to keep him calm and prevent further injury or damage the implants.”
Recovery will take time.
“At about eight weeks his splints covering the injuries should be removed and at 12 weeks, I should be able to walk him on a leash,” Boyer said. “Rex will be restricted to low-level walking with no playing hard, running or anything like that.”
It’s too soon to determine his career path.
“He is such a driven dog and so much fun. Whatever Rex’s future holds, he will be taken care of in whatever capacity he serves or lives out his life,” Boyer said.
O’Keefe said Rex might be able to come back as a drug dog.
Andrea Brown: firstname.lastname@example.org; 425-339-3443. Twitter @reporterbrown.