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K-9 Officers Sniffing for Explosives at RNC Help Rescue Abandoned Dog

On Monday, four human officers along with their K-9 partners headed to Cleveland to perform explosives-detection duties along the city’s Rapid Transit Authority (RTA) routes before and during the Republican National Convention.

While on duty, however, the officers made a different kind of lifesaving discovery – a dog, abandoned and emaciated, struggling to survive, curled up in a corner at an RTA station.

St. Louis officers Steve Schubert and his K9 partner Orkann, Ed Hempkens with K9 Pffiefer, Sgt. Steve Swafford with K9 Lexi, and Houston Officer Donald Ritchy and K9 Jake were alerted to the dog by an RTA employee. Although the rescue wasn’t part of their job duties that day, the officers – all 8 of them – knew how important it was.

“At first we thought she was dead,” said Hempkens.

“She looked so far gone. She was lifeless. Bugs were crawling all over her.  She wasn’t even trying to move,” said Ritchy.

“Yeah,  I don’t think she would have made it through the night,” said Swafford.

“We took her head in our hands and gave her water and waited. She took a little bit and it didn’t seem very long before she was up and trying to stand. It was like she knew we were trying to help,” said Ritchey.

It must have been an incredibly touching scene, to see four officers, with their own K9 partners by their sides, taking the time to save the life of a dying dog that everyone else seemed to ignore.

“At lease she didn’t die on the concrete out here with a bunch of people just walking over her,” Swafford said.

“She knows that she’s loved,” said Hempkens.

Some of the dogs in Cleveland helping out from St. Louis are actually named after firefighters who died in the terrorist attacks on 9/11.

Their police officer handlers say maybe Darla will go on to be a rescue dog herself.

If you want to help give Darla her second chance, call Great Lakes Animal Hospital in Cleveland at 216-831-6789.

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