For the second time in a year, this New Jersey fire department held a hero’s salute for their beloved K-9 dog as he was being put down.
Timmy, the 11-year-old German shepherd that worked as a search and rescue dog for the Pattenburg Volunteer Fire Company, was put down Sunday after he was given a painful diagnosis of throat cancer.
“We’re kind of devastated,” Fire Chief Dan Van Fossen told InsideEdition.com. “He gave up his life to volunteer and protect humanity. I just wish there was a way we could have fixed him.”
Local fire departments, police departments and other rescue personnel gave Timmy a hero’s send-off by blocking the streets leading to the animal hospital and escorting Timmy before he would be put down.
Before Timmy entered the clinic, the volunteer fire house put out a last call, where they announced the loyal K-9’s fate over their radios.
“He fell asleep in my lap. I wanted to be with him the whole time,” Van Fossen said. “He was almost like his normal self. That’s why we felt so bad when we put him down. He walked there."
He explained Timmy had not shown signs of being sick until recently.
Van Fossen explained that after the aggressive mass was found growing at the back of his throat, veterinarians said they could try surgeries or medications, but they would only extend Timmy’s life by a few months.
“It was a surprise,” Van Fossen said. “He didn’t show anything until about a month ago.”
To calm the pain, Timmy was prescribed pain patches, but Van Fossen said it was a temporary fix and he didn’t want his beloved dog to suffer any longer.
“Shepherds are good at masking the pain but it was hurting [him] to eat,” he said. “He hadn’t eaten in a week.”
Despite the sickness, Van Fossen said Timmy was the same loveable dog he had always been up until his final days.
Timmy was known in the area for visiting schools, helping people on the brink of suicide, finding missing persons and even tracking down a pet tortoise who wandered from his enclosure two years ago.
“He was my best friend,” Van Fossen said. “You think he’s going to be there when you open the door, and he’s not. He was always part of the picture.”
The volunteer fire house is now hosting a fundraiser for Timmy's medical bills. To donate to their cause, visit their GoFundMe.