EL CAJON, Calif. (KGTV) - El Cajon police K-9 handlers decided to help a dog in distress last week, as one of their own K-9 officers began his recovery.
A photo released by El Cajon police revealed the scene in the early evening hours last Wednesday. 9-year-old Jester was being operated on at an emergency animal hospital, after being stabbed in the head during an encounter with a man suspected of slashing tires.
A week later, the Belgian Malinois, still healing, visited police headquarters.
Cellphone video recorded by his handler shows Jester happily jumping around and into the car to head home.
"He's being a typical Belgian Malonois, running around,” said Sgt. Michael Murphy.
Sgt. Murphy, who heads the El Cajon Canine Officers Association, says Jester's recovery is going well.
“The best case scenario. He's doing well,’ said Sgt. Murphy.
Jester is no stranger to the spotlight. His exploits with his previous handler, including posing with funny hats, made him a social media star with more than 120,000 Instagram followers.
Years later, more attention is following Jester, because of what else was unfolding in the animal ER.
“Everything happens for a reason, I believe so … maybe for this reason,” said Sgt. Murphy.
As Jester was recovering, his handler, Sgt. Murphy and another handler noticed a 2-year-old German Shepherd named Samson in the room and struggling from a rattlesnake bite. His littermate was also bitten, though she was in much better shape.
“All the different things that come with a rattlesnake bite. The owners weren’t sure they would be able to pay for everything. We looked at each other without even thinking, and said that we would cover the costs of the second dog,” said Sgt. Murphy.
The El Cajon Canine Officers Association, which usually covers medical costs for retired police dogs, decided to cover Samson's $1,300 bill.
“Knowing that these these people are making a hard choice, of maybe not doing all the services … We wanted to take that hard decision away from them, just like we do for our officers here,” said Murphy.
In a Facebook post, Samson's owners called the group's actions an unbelievable blessing.
As for Jester, he was due to retire in a few months. Murphy says he will likely return, just in time for his well-earned sendoff.