MIAMI (CBSMiami) – Shak has spent the last five years going after criminals and sniffing out drugs, but now, the longtime police dog is off-duty, recuperating from surgery and regaining his strength.
Shak, a German Shepherd, is recovering from spinal surgery after a medical condition left him paralyzed.
Shak is a highly-trained Pembroke Pines Police dog that has intimidated criminals with the mere sight of him—especially frightening is the dog’s bite.
“He’s a tracking and apprehension dog so what that means is when somebody flees on foot he can track from point A to point B to locate a hiding offender and if necessary he will engage an offender and bite. He’s a bite dog,” said Officer Adam Feiner, Shak’s handler and owner.
“Truly I spend more time with this dog than I do with my own wife,” said Feiner. He’s got a great balance for a work dog because he has the ability to turn the light switch on and off. He can be a gentleman in here when he needs to be and he can work when he’s outside.”
Last Wednesday, Feiner was devastated when he took note that his normally athletic, energetic dog appeared to have a serious issue.
“I was completely overwhelmed when I saw him in the condition I found him because he had no function or control over his back legs whatsoever,” said Feiner, adding, “To see a dog of this caliber in that condition was not very easy to accept.”
Shak, in an effort to remediate the issue, went through a two and a half hour spinal surgery Saturday with the Lauderdale Veterinary Specialists.
When CBS4’s Natalia Zea asked Feiner what he was doing during the two and a half hour surgery, he answered, “I was trying to keep all my lunch inside my stomach.”
The surgery was a success, and Shak is walking again. He does face physical therapy however for full recovery.
Veterinarian Dr. Joyce Loeser said that depending on his progress, Shak could need help for months.
“He’s already up and walking which is a big one. Now we have to work on strengthening and conditioning. He is slightly ataxic which means he’s walking like a drunk in the back, but he is almost fully weight bearing,” said Loeser.
Dr. Loeser begins therapy with a laser and then acupuncture.
“When we stick needles in this area that actually talks to the spinal cord and that goes back to the control panel which is our brain,” said Dr. Loeser.
Using a treadmill will hopefully help Shak regain the strength he will need to return to work.
No matter the prognosis, however, Officer Feiner said that Shak will remain his dog but he does hope, mostly for his pup’s sake, that Shak will be able to return to service.
“We like our time off, we like our days off—Shak is the exact opposite. He gets a lot of satisfaction going to work,” said Officer Feiner. “He has a great heart. He’s got great desire.”