Axle is now a water baby
Recovery is going swimmingly for brave police dog Axle.
Injured in the line of duty while tracking an Auckland burglar in May, the 9-year-old german shepherd is padding his way back to health on what is basically a treadmill in an oversized fishtank.
Staff at a Sylvia Park veterinary centre in east Auckland have been working with lovable Axle and his devoted handler Constable Hamish McPhillips to get him back on the beat.
The elite armed-offenders-trained dog, one of only four in Auckland, tore a ligament in his hind leg requiring surgery, physiotherapy and hydrotherapy.
Axle has been using a waterenclosed treadmill to rebuild muscle, strength and co-ordination to get him fit for gruelling beat work.
McPhillips said the day after Axle was hurt, he ‘‘could hardly move’’, yet nearly six weeks on, one of his carers said he’s made ‘‘remarkable progress’’.
McPhillips, who Axle had lived and worked with for more than two years, was worried when Axle pulled-up lame on the nighttime shift.
‘‘You don’t know what it is at first, you don’t know if it’s major, he’s not a spring chicken anymore.’’
In a few months Axle will retire and go back to living with his original handler, senior constable Tony Feasey.