TURLOCK, Calif. — The Turlock Police Department is going through a difficult time right now after learning one of their two K9's has cancer.
K9 Varick will be 6-years-old this summer. He's been working with his handler Officer Nim Khamo for three and a half years now.
"It's a loss of a member of our police department. He just has a lot more hair than most of us," Turlock Police Chief Nino Amirfar said.
At just 98 pounds, K9 Varick is a member of this police department's family.
"This is my partner Varick. We've been together three years and he's a patrol dog. He's my partner," Khamo said.
Khamo says he can clear buildings faster than any other officer. He knows when it's time to play or time to work and of course. He knows how to bite the bad guys.
"He's my most valuable officer. He comes to work every day no matter what, he's actually excited to come to work every day. He wants to come say hi to people. He wants to come be in the car with me, never complains, never takes a sick day," he said.
But about a month ago, another sergeant was petting Varick when they noticed a lump. So, Khamo took him to the vet and they did a biopsy. They later found out it was a form of cancer, and because of its placement right under his mouth, veterinarians say it's inoperable.
"I'm not going to lie, he's my partner, it's not fun. I go home with him every day. I go to work with him every day," Khamo said. "My family, my son, my wife, we're all affected by it."
The vet told him it will soon begin to affect his bite, and when it does, his handler will use his best judgment to retire him.
"It's devastating to us to even think that six months or even a year from now, he won't be here anymore," Amirfar said.
It is an imminent loss Amirfar says is already starting to take a toll on his entire department.
"We lost quite a few officers last year, and it's a continuing issue with police officers losing their lives on a daily basis, but in this profession, you come to this profession to help people and make a difference, and Varick is making a difference now, and we'll carry that mission on when he's gone," he said.
"I'm going to miss him dearly when he's gone, and we're going to miss him on patrol. We're going to miss his being to help us out. I'm going to miss his company," Khamo said.
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