Virginia K9 headed for retirement following surgery

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GALAX, Va. (WDBJ7) — The Galax Police Department's only K9 is headed for retirement. K9 Ajo, at a little more than six years old, will no longer join handler Sergeant Chris Hines at work every day.

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"It's a tough pill to swallow," Hines said Monday.

The two have worked side-by-side every day for the last 18 months. But last week, Hines noticed something was different about his best friend.

"He started slowing down," Hines said.

He took him to the vet. Hours later, he got a call he wasn't expecting.

"It's tough," Hines said, becoming emotional.

The veterinarian told Hines that Ajo had a 10-pound tumor attached to his spleen, one that had extended to his chest cavity and was pushing on his other organs.

Ajo went for surgery, and man and dog waited for tests on the results of the biopsy.

Ajo, he said, still did his best to work. But a decision had been made.

"Chief felt it was best to retire Ajo," he said.

But along with a tough decision came good news. All of Ajo's tests came back clean. Ajo now will live comfortably at home with Hines full-time.

"He'll have plenty of treats and belly rubs," Hines promised.

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