K-9 officer returns home

Courtesy Photo
K-9 officer Torro, a Belgian Malinois dog, is coming home to the Waco Police Department today. Torro was being treated for kidney sickness in California. He will be brought home by Officer Chip Weiser, his handler.

By James Stockton

For those at the Waco Police Department, the wait is finally over. After six weeks of treatment at the University of California-Davis, K-9 officer Torro, a Belgian Malinois dog, is coming home.

Officer Chip Weiser, Torro’s handler, was informed Tuesday to make travel plans to California to pick up Torro and bring him back to Texas. The two are expected to return to McGregor Airport by 6 p.m. today.

About four and a half weeks ago, Torro suffered an unknown toxic event that sent his kidneys into failure and prompted immediate treatment by specialists in Texas and ultimately veterinary specialists in California.

“The first three and a half to four weeks, we weren’t even sure this day would come,” said Sherry Tusa, a member of the Animal Legal Defense Fund and United Animal Nation. “We are so grateful for his survival.”

But Torro’s return does not mean the animal is completely healthy.

According to a statement by the Waco Police Department, Torro’s test results are not completely normal, but indicate that he can return home to finish recuperating.

Tusa coordinated Torro’s “get-well fund,” created to help the Waco Police Department pay Torro’s medical expenses, and made herself a contact for the public concerning Torro’s progress.

Torro works for the Waco Police Department as a dual-purpose patrol dog. He is tasked with evidence recovery and finding suspects or missing persons in addition to his work as a narcotics dog.

Throughout his illness, Torro’s story has been met with overwhelming support from those in the community, and everyone close to Torro, especially Weiser, have been impacted by the response.

“It’s truly been amazing,” Weiser said. ”We deal with a lot of bad stuff so when something like this happens, it’s good for the soul.”

A local financial services company, Life Partners Inc., has made its private plane available for Weiser and Torro’s arrival, and people like Dr. Brandy Porterpan, a veterinary specialist at Animal Diagnostic Clinic in Dallas, have gone beyond their responsibilities to make sure Torro has the best chance at recovery possible.

“If Doctor Porterpan hadn’t been the receiving doctor, [Torro] probably would be deceased right now,” Weiser said.

Torro will continue to be monitored at Weiser’s home by local veterinarians and put on a recovery plan instituted by doctors from the University of California-Davis.

“There’s going to be a long time before he comes back to work,” Weiser said.

He expects another couple of months of recovery will be necessary before Torro is back working the streets.

While Torro won’t be working, Weiser still plans to bring him to work to keep Torro company.