K-9 Melnic is back on the job following successful back surgery, according to the Olympia Police Department.
The 6-year-old German shepherd went on leave in late July after his partner, Officer Randy Wilson, took him to the vet and learned that Melnic had two herniated disks in his back. The damaged disks caused the dog to feel weak and limited his mobility.
Now he’s back, after passing a test of some basic police K-9 skills, and being cleared by his veterinarian. But he’s taking it easy for now.
“He’s super important to us, and we want to make sure we’re not rushing him,” Lt. Paul Lower said.
Melnic climbed back into the patrol car last Wednesday. Lower said he didn’t deploy at all during his first night back, but Wilson did make sure he got exercise between calls.
The excitement left the K-9 with a little bit of a limp. But he was looked over and seems to be healing properly, Lower said. Wilson is in frequent contact with the veterinarian to make sure Melnic makes a full recovery, he said.
After a few days off, Wilson and Melnic were back on the road Tuesday.
“It’s one of (Melnic’s) favorite things to do,” Lower said. “He just loves to ride around in the car.”
Melnic is well known in the Olympia community because of the “Where’s Melnic?” scavenger hunts that took place in downtown Olympia in the winters of 2014 and 2015. Dozens of children participated in the hunts, searching for photos of Melnic in the windows of downtown businesses. Participants were rewarded with a Melnic meet-and-greet and a “pawtographed” photo. He also has made visits to Olympia schools.