Injured Concord police dog hoping to get back to work

Concord Police officers are pulling for one of their own to get well soon. He's a K-9 officer with a bum paw and he's far short of retirement age.

"He's been a great asset to the community, and my goal is to get him back out there as soon as possible, Officer Ollie Sansen told KTVU, alongside his 4 year old Belgian Malinois named Bono.

Police dogs run the risk of all kinds of injury, conducting searches and chasing suspects, but Bono got hurt most unexpectedly. 

He was at his first competition, a "top dog" contest with teams from all over, gathered in Vacaville last month.

Handlers were putting their dogs through their paces on agility, detection, and apprehension. Bono started strong, and even won a trophy in the first round. But he landed badly jumping off a six foot wall and tore a ligament in his left front paw.

Ever since, he's been a stay-at-home dog, and Sansen, his partner for a year, goes on patrol without him. "It's been very quiet and lonely in the back of the car," admitted Sansen.

"And it's funny, when I'm out sick, no one really calls, but I'm getting calls all the time from my co-workers, wanting to know how he's doing!"

The Concord Police Department has five other K9 teams in the squad. Bono is among the youngest, and a popular ambassador for the unit, making many public appearances.

Sansen calls him a turn-key dog: performing work flawlessly, and friendly to everyone he meets.

At home, his temperament is especially mellow.   "He's a union dog, so when he gets home he turns it off," joked Sansen.

Bono's avoids putting weight on his painful wrist, lifting his paw when possible. On Wednesday, he will have surgery to repair the tear.

"It's been tempting to bring him to work with me, because sometimes he seems fine," observed Sansen, "but I can feel the knot, and I know the injury is there, so I'm not going to chance it."

Rehabilitation should take several months, and if Bono makes a full recovery, he might work for another six years.

Sansen says his partner's long-term quality of life is the priority. "It's really going to be up to me as the handler to decide what's going to be best for him," he noted. 

Like many police dogs, Bono came trained from the Netherlands, and was a big investment, about $10,000. No matter what happens going forward, he's part of the Sansen family for life. 

"I wish we could have had a cooler story of how he got hurt," concluded Sansen, " like trying to catch a bad guy or something!"

As a rookie though, Bono hasn't chased down anyone yet.  Every suspect he has encountered so far, has surrendered when they saw him.