FOREST LAKE, Minn. (WCCO) — Officers in Forest Lake are mourning the loss of a beloved K-9 who died unexpectedly in the line of duty.
It was near State Highways 61 and 97 in Washington County where a state trooper asked for help with a high risk traffic stop. Forest Lake Police Officer Nick Kent and his K-9, Ranger, assisted in the apprehension. Shortly after the driver was detained, Ranger went into cardiac arrest.
Officers immediately began emergency cardio pulmonary resuscitation on the dog and radioed in to say they were bringing Ranger to the University of Minnesota Veterinary Hospital. But despite their CPR efforts, Ranger was pronounced dead at the hospital.
Kim Harkins teaches emergency CPR to both pet and K-9 handlers and says it can be difficult to turn such an emergency around.
“Statistically, animals tend to be a lower survival rate. They’re not resuscitated as often and a lot of it is the unknown. Often with pets it’s a respiratory emergency that is primary,” Harkins said.
Anoka Police Officer George Walker knows first-hand the trauma of losing a K-9 partner. He lost an earlier dog to an emergency medical condition and had to have him euthanized.
“You’re with that dog non-stop,” Officer Walker said.
His current K-9 partner, Barrett, is a 4-year-old German Shepherd who he trains with constantly.
“Everybody says it’s a pet but it’s a lot more than that. That dog will die for you in a snap of the fingers. He will give up his life to protect you or your partners,” Shepherd said.
Photos and video show K-9 Ranger with Officer Kent doing simulated apprehensions and drug detections. He made numerous appearances around Forest Lake during his seven years on the department and became a town celebrity.
A K-9 officer who performed at such a superb level is now leaving a huge hole in his partner and the greater community.
“The community is hurting as well, especially the officer and his department. Because (Ranger) is a valued member of that department,” Officer Walker said.