Six months after lymphoma diagnosis, Bloomfield Twp. K-9 ends chemo

James David Dickson
The Detroit News

Bloomfield Township — Six months after being diagnosed with cancer, a dog that assists Bloomfield Township in its policing efforts has taken his last round of chemotherapy.

The K-9, who is named Kody, was diagnosed with lymphoma in April, Bloomfield Township Police Department announced Thursday via Twitter. After the diagnosis, Kody began chemotherapy at the Michigan State University College of Veterinary Medicine. 

K-9 Kody, of the Bloomfield Twp. Police Department, poses with the MSU veterinary officials involved in his cancer treatment, which ended this week, six months after he was diagnosed with lymphoma.

Those treatments ended Tuesday, the department announced.

While Kody will "never be cured of this cancer," the K-9 officer is expected to continue working the streets with his partner "for some time to come."

According to PetMD, lymphoma is a blood-borne cancer, and is the most common cancer diagnosis among dogs. It is also considered treatable.

Officer Angela Carlson has worked with a K-9 partner for 10 of her 15 years with the department. After her previous K-9 was removed from service in 2013, she had her pick from a number of potential replacements. Kody stood out from the group.

Bloomfield Twp. Officer Angela Carlson poses with K-9 partner Kody

"He just had this kindness about him," Carlson recalled. "I knew he would also be good at home with my children," a son who at the time was just four months old, and a daughter who was three years old.

Carlson was troubled, in April, when she rubbed Kody's neck and felt swollen lymph nodes. She took the dog to the veterinarian the next day, and didn't like what she heard — her partner would only have four to six more weeks to live. 

"There were tears" when she told her family of the diagnosis. Those turned to smiles six months later when the dog's chemo treatments came to an end.

Least affected by all of it was Kody himself. He's slowed down a bit. But he never showed signs of sickness or sadness, and was never away from the job while receiving treatment. The drug and tracking dog, a German Shepherd, even helped track down a senior citizen who had wandered off, his partner said. 

"To look at him, you never would've known anything was wrong," Carlson said. "If I hadn't felt it, he might not be around."

Kody is about 7½ years old right now, and is expected to remain in service until he's about nine, then spend the remainder of his life retired.

"He's on my heels wherever I go," Carlson said. "I basically have three kids."