Ranger the K9 was shot two days ago. But, aside from his shaved chest indicating where a bullet entered his right shoulder and a bandaged back paw, you'd never guess all he'd been through.
The California Highway Patrol dog based out of the San Gorgonio Pass office in Beaumont made an appearance for the media Wednesday morning, and seemed in bright spirits despite what he has gone through the past couple days.
On Monday, while assisting law enforcement with a domestic disturbance call in Beaumont, Ranger was sent in coax a man, identified as 38-year-old Chandler Cardwell, out when he "wasn't obeying the officers' commands," according to sheriff's spokesman Deputy Albert Martinez.
The 2 1/2 year old Dutch Shepard, was shot in his right shoulder by Cardwell who was fending off police on Morgan Avenue, south of Brookside, according to CHP Spokesman Officer Darren Meyer.
"The police dog was sent in as a non-lethal mode to attempt to assist in the arrest of a suspect," Meyer said Wednesday. "The dog was shot in the right shoulder. The bullet traveled down the shoulder and out the right elbow and struck the ground. The bullet fragmented, and pieces of those fragments went into the rear foot."
Despite a large amount of shrapnel, Meyer said it was a "load-bearing toe."
Ranger is one of two police K9s assigned to the CHP in the Pass, and is called upon for service frequently, according to Meyer.
Ranger is trained in narcotics and handler protection, and has been on the job for about a year. He graduated in Oct. 2011 from a K9 training academy.
"Without any incident, he was projected to retire in 2018," Meyer said. However, that future is now uncertain.
Ranger is due for another veterinary check-up in two weeks, and will have to rest for at least 30 days. At that point, he will go through some training and exercise and it will be determined if he can get back to work, or if he'll need to retire.
Ranger's handler says he will adopt him if it comes to early retirement. CHP offers former K9 officers for sale for just $1 to their handlers.
Bullet proof vests for K9s are "on-order" by the CHP and are expected to be put to use in January, when they arrive. Meyer said it's unclear if a vest would have helped in this particular case.
There are a total of 41 K9 teams across the state through the California Highway Patrol's program.