A police dog that worked to improve the lives of San Diegans is now fighting for his own.
K-9 Officer Reilly served the region from 2005 until his retirement this month. The yellow lab assisted law enforcement officers with the San Diego County Integrated Narcotic Task Force with hundreds of drug investigations, resulting in the seizure of more than 1,300 pounds of narcotics.
Now, the drug-sniffing dog needs help from the community he served.
“It’s been very hard to watch,” said his handler Detective Mike Aiken, who is now his caretaker. “Reilly’s been with me about 5 ½ years and it’s been the highlight of my almost 25 year career with San Diego PD.”
Aiken said he recently noticed a change in Reilly over the holidays.
“He was acting ill, so we took him in, and they found the cancer on his spleen and liver,” the dog’s handler said.
During the 9 years with the department, Reilly has done more than just sniff out drugs. He’s interacted with more than 30,000 school children during DEA Red Ribbon events.
You could call him a celebrity. Reilly has posters, trading cards and even a Facebook page. He started cancer treatment Tuesday, but he has a long road to recovery.
“We’re going to give it a shot and try and beat it,” said Aiken.
He and other officers are asking for help for their K-9 friend.
"He's a lover, not a fighter, but he'll fight this,” Aiken told NBC 7.