On March 15, 2017, at approx. 5:40 PM I was training my K9 partner Jelka an all-black Belgian Malinois who was 2 years old at this time. I was working on obedience and rewarding her with her favorite toy, a ball. We were approx. 50 yards away from the road when I tossed the ball to reward her. As Jelka was running to retrieve the ball she hit it with her nose causing the ball to shoot out in front of her. She continued to chase the ball as it rolled into the street. As Jelka was approaching the ball she was hit by a Ford F-150. I can still hear the sound as if it was yesterday. I came running around the corner and I saw my partner running to me with her back left leg bone sticking out and the bottom half of her leg hanging on by a vein.
As I stood there in shock for what seemed like forever I was able to snap out of it long enough to pick her up and place her in my patrol vehicle. When placing her in the back I had to lay her on top of me and slid out from underneath her because she was unable to stand. I knew I had to get her to an emergency vet fast or I would lose her.
On our way to the vet, I could hear Jelka breathing as if she was choking on her own blood. Once I arrived at the vet I ran inside and I remember saying with tears in my eyes, “I need help, my partner is dying”. Praise the Lord, he put some amazing people there that day. They ran out without any hesitation and I picked Jelka up and placed her on the stretcher. As they were wheeling her back to the emergency room Jelka’s heart stopped beating. The surgeon cut open her chest and started to massage her heart for approx. 1 minute until it started beating again. I didn’t find this information out until a few months later.
After multiple surgeries, the vet came out to speak with me and my beautiful wife. They said Jelka is stable for now but the next 24-48 hours would be critical. Around hour 37, I received a phone call from the vet saying I might need to make funeral arguments because they were pulling 500 ML of air out of Jelka’s chest tube and they weren’t sure if they could find where it was coming from. After more surgeries and by the grace of God, the vet found a hole in one of the lobes in her lung. They removed that lobe and once again they told me the next 24-48 hours would be critical. Once we made it passed hour 48 we weren’t out of the woods yet.
Once the internal organs were taken care of it was now time to move onto the leg. Remember the left leg was hanging on by a vain with the bone sticking out. The vets didn’t want to do anything with the leg until they knew Jelka was stable. This was a stressful day also because the vets weren’t sure if they were going to be able to save the leg with all the damage it sustained. Once again God and the vets came through and they saved the leg. They had to fuse it together with nine screws and one long metal plate, but they said she’d be able to walk again as long as her body didn’t reject the screws or plate.
99 days later Jelka was released to full duty with no restrictions. Jelka continues to improve every single day and shows me and everyone else how strong you can be if you put your trust in God.
Since being released Jelka has had multiple drug seizures and has tracked a handful of suspects who’ve committed various crimes. She is truly the power of prayer.
I would like to thank MedVet, Zionsville Animal Hospital, The Town of Zionsville and everyone who supported us with their donations and prayers.
K9 CORPORAL JOSHUA STUTESMAN
Zionsville Police Department