In this week’s K9 Spotlight, Harrisburg PA’s Corporal Tyron Meik shares the harrowing and incredible story of how his partner Zeke was shot in the line of duty—and not only survived, but returned to work just 6 weeks later.
I received a call requesting assistance with locating a suspect. A young man had allegedly stabbed and shot at someone the night before. Officers accessed his house and encountered him in a stairwell with a firearm. He took off, gun in hand, and entered a wooded area. They set up a perimeter and called me.
It’s Friday afternoon, around 4:30. This is a residential area. There are kids having practice—baseball or soccer—at a school across the street. I have a crazy feeling in my gut. I’m thinking, “Please Lord, don’t let Zeke get shot.”
The woods are so thick with brush, sometimes we have to crawl to get through. Lots of pine trees with low-lying limbs, so it’s very dark. Visibility is very low. But Zeke puts his head straight down and he’s tracking; he’s on the track. Sure enough, the suspect is lying on the ground waiting for us behind a tree. I yell, “Let me see your hands!” He flees, still holding the gun. He’s running toward the perimeter units. I need to stop this threat, so I release Zeke. Zeke pursues him, engages him on his right leg, pulls him down. The young man pulls the trigger and shoots Zeke in the neck at point blank range. I scream, “He shot my dog!” Despite being shot in the neck, Zeke is still engaged with the suspect. His drive is through the roof. The other officers engage the suspect, and I drag Zeke away. I’m panicking: my partner is shot. I’ve got to get him to the hospital. His adrenaline’s going; he’s in shock. I need a helicopter.
At this point, there is confusion whether the helicopter would respond to transport Zeke. Despite the confusion, the helicopter does, even though the crew initially thinks they were transporting a human. The crew tells the pilot, “We don’t know anything about dogs”. Zeke is loaded on the helicopter and the crew asks about treatments for Zeke. I say, “Give him anything you got.” At the hospital, they stabilize him. They see the bullet lodged in his neck. They say, “If he makes it through tonight, we’ll remove it tomorrow.” Next morning after surgery, I go home, get a little sleep, go to church. When I return, Zeke is still in recovery, IVs still in him, but he hears my voice and jumps four feet in the air! Six weeks later he’s back to work.
We do some training together first. My concern is, how is he going to be with gunfire, physically and psychologically? Zeke is strong and stays engaged, like the day he was shot. So I know he’s good. The first gun call I receive after that, my heart sinks. Yeah, it takes a toll. You never forget. These dogs are four-legged heroes who do this every single day. Zeke is just one of them.