K-9 OFFICER “BODIE”
2014 CVMA ANIMAL HALL OF FAME RECIPIENT
The following is the letter written by Officer Randy Van Dusen to CVMA:
I’m writing this letter to support the nomination of my police canine partner, Bodie, for the CVMA Animal Hall of Fame. Bodie had been my police canine partner at the Sacramento Police Department for about a year and a half on May 18th, 2012, when we were involved in the chase of a reported stolen car in the Land Park area of Sacramento. After the vehicle chase had to be cancelled by officers when it became too dangerous, a police officer located the driver and his female partner walking away from the car parked in a nearby neighborhood. Both suspects fled on foot as Bodie and I arrived to help. K9 Bodie and I focused our attention to the male suspect and chased him into a backyard on Robertson Way. As the suspect was attempting to climb a fence and escape towards a nearby school yard, Bodie caught up to him. Without warning the suspect turned and fired a stolen handgun at Bodie, striking him at close range in the left side of his face. The bullet shattered Bodie’s lower left jaw, nearly severed his tongue sixty percent of the way off and exited his right lip before coming to rest in his right paw, shattering his two middle toes. The suspect then began shooting the gun at me as I was moving and returning fire from a distance of approximately ten feet away. The suspect was struck several times and fell to the ground.
I looked at Bodie, who was standing a short distance away, and observed that he was losing a massive amount of blood from his mouth. I yelled “Car” to him, which is his command to return to our patrol vehicle and jump in the open back window. Bodie limped to the broken fence where we had entered the backyard and bravely waited for me as I retreated to his location. Another officer arrived to help and I told him the suspect was down in the backyard. I yelled “Car” again to Bodie and he limped to our patrol vehicle and jumped in the back window. I ran to him and immediately began the lengthy drive, with lights and sirens, to VCA Veterinary Referral Center in Rancho Cordova. I called VCA on the phone and advised them we were coming and that Bodie had been shot. The entire drive to the vet Bodie had his head on my shoulder, bleeding out, as I begged him repeatedly to “hold on buddy”. Upon arriving at the vet, Bodie could not stand due to his blood loss. I picked him up out of the back seat and quickly carried him to a team of veterinarians, led by Dr Chris Wong and Dr Rob Runyan. Bodie was rushed into surgery where the vet team was able to save his life. Following his arrival at the vet, I was allowed to stay with Bodie all day and sleep in his kennel on the floor with him every night. Bodie walked out of the vet, under his own power, seven days after being carried in, almost dead.
Since the shooting, Bodie has undergone five major surgeries and hundreds of hours of vet visits and rehab to assist him in recovering from his injuries. The only time Bodie has ever let me know that he hurt was the moment the bullet entered his face and he yelped once. Bodie has shown amazing strength during all of his subsequent surgeries and rehab and has kept a “dog smile” on the entire time. Since being shot, Bodie has taken on the role of educating the public about the benefits of police canines and the bond shared between them and their human partners. Bodie has been able to meet thousands of citizens during school, hospital, and community events and show that with courage, love, and dedication, anything is possible. Bodie was forced to retire from police work as a result of his injuries but became the Sacramento Police Department’s first ever “Reserve Police K9” to allow him to continue his work as an ambassador for police and working dogs everywhere. Bodie unselfishly saved my life and I will never be able to repay him. Thank you for your consideration.
Randy Van Dusen