METHUEN, Mass. - A 3-year-old former police bloodhound in Massachusetts needs a loving new home after losing one of his legs to cancer, forcing his retirement from the police force.
Hundreds of emails and phone calls have poured in from people interested in adopting Blue, according to Julia Pesek, Community Outreach Coordinator for the Massachusetts Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals at Nevins Farm in Methuen. She called him the "perfect dog."
"He has the personality of an older dog, where he really just wants to be with people. He wants to sit in your lap, but he just wants to curl up sort of like a big cat and wants to have his belly rubbed and have you to pet his ears. And there's all his extra floppy skin, of which he has a very large quantity," Pesek said. "He's just really kind of a perfect dog. He's just missing a leg."
The dusty-brown bloodhound was a "prized member" of the Billerica Police Department's K9 Unit, the MSPCA at Nevins Farm said in a press release. He had worked as a track hound for two years. But he was on the verge of being assigned a new handler last month when he was diagnosed with a form of lethal cancer that would cost him his job and possibly his life, the release said.
Sgt. John Harring, Blue's trainer, brought him to the vet's office in mid-April after noticing a growth on his front right leg.
"We thought it was just a fatty cyst, the kind of growth that is so common with dogs," Harring said.
But it turned out to be a soft tissue sarcoma, which required rapid intervention to prevent its growth and spread.
Veterinarians at the MSPCA's Angell Animal Medical Center moved quickly to ensure the cancer could be removed before it spread to Blue's vital organs.
"Amputation would offer Blue the best chance of trying to cure this form of cancer," said Dr. Nick Trout, who performed the surgery on May 7.
Harring and his colleagues surrendered Blue to the MSPCA at Nevins Farm on May 8. They were intent on saving his life, even if it meant retirement from the force. Blue's cancer and leg amputation ended his law enforcement career, but now the MSPCA is searching for a loving home for him.
Blue is still resting and recovering, but Pesek said she believes he will fully recover in about two weeks. He has been able to adapt and walk, she said.
"One of the nicest things that comes along with Blue having been a police dog is that he's received a lot of training and because of the work he was doing, he is familiar with crowds and loud noises and the kind of stuff that some dogs don't get when they are just living at home with you, so he's super easygoing, very sedate," Pesek said, adding that Blue is very well-socialized and has great manners.
Pesek said she hopes to have a home for Blue by next week.
"He is a wonderful dog -- well trained, friendly and social -- and we think his new 'tripod' status makes him all the more adorable," said Meaghan O'Leary, director of the adoption center at the MSPCA at Nevins Farm.
This story was reported from Los Angeles.