Health scare forces popular canine into semi-retirement
Wood County has a female beauty that is displayed prominently on the cover of a recent national magazine. Canine officer Juma has become one of Wood County’s most popular law enforcement …
Health scare forces popular canine into semi-retirement
Wood County has a female beauty that is displayed prominently on the cover of a recent national magazine. Canine officer Juma has become one of Wood County’s most popular law enforcement officers.
Juma, a German Sheppard, is a canine officer and is partners with Wood County Precinct 2 Constable Kelly Smith. The cover photo was for K-9 COP Magazine and was displayed in their February-March issue. Smith and Juma have been partners almost two years.
Juma has recently been through a health crisis with Addison’s disease. She collapsed and had to be hospitalized for the intake of IV fluids and needed a blood transfusion. She received the transfusion from Izzie, a Tyler PD canine.
Smith was appreciative of the Tyler PD and Izzie’s handler, Garrett.
“When you offer the blood of your companion to save mine, it will not ever be forgotten. We always thought Izzie and Juma were related, now they are,” Smith remarked. “She is a warrior with a strong spirit, a legend as far as I’m concerned, for enduring through the whole process.”
Addison’s disease is a rare hormonal disorder which affects dogs, cats and humans. If a dog has Addison’s disease, this means that their adrenal glands are failing to produce important hormones responsible for regulating some of their key bodily processes. Addison’s disease is a serious condition and can be fatal if left untreated. However, it can usually be controlled successfully with the right treatment. Most dogs with appropriately-treated Addison’s disease will have a normal lifespan.
They will need to continue this treatment for the rest of their lives. Addison’s disease can affect a dog’s ability to cope with stress. In stressful situations, their adrenal glands produce the hormone cortisol to help them withstand it. If they have Addison’s disease, they are unable to synthesize enough cortisol for them to cope. This often means that their symptoms get worse at times of stress or strain.
Juma is on the mend these days. It was a tough, lengthy and physically draining process for Juma and Smith. The canine officer had to have exploratory surgery and is on medication. Due to the illness she had a severe case of ataxia which causes a lack of muscle control or coordination of voluntary movements, such as walking or running.
“She is walking great now and responding to the medications. She is ready to get back on the streets and visit with her thousands of friends. We had a lot of prayer warriors out there who we are so thankful for them,” Smith said. “She has received the best of care, as she well deserves.
“As hard as the decision is for all of us, it has been decided that it will be in Juma’s best interest to limit her duties to ensure she has the longest and healthiest possible life. She will be able to enjoy car rides and going to see friends so she can steal the limelight and enjoy the smiles and laughter she brings to the community.”
Juma was born in January 2015 in Hungary and was donated for training in 2016. She became Smith’s partner in 2018 and these days, where you see one, you will see the other. The pair is the only K9 team serving the entire Wood County area.
“Yes, it is an honor for Juma to be on the cover of K-9 Cop Magazine, but this is all about Juma. She deserves the recognition and she has a lot more fans than I do,” Smith noted.
Smith is appreciative of the pair’s support. “We get great support from the people in Wood County and it is really appreciated. When we are out on the street we get honked at and waved to. The kids love to come up and pet her and she seems to enjoy it. We hand out Juma coins and they are really popular with the kids.”
Smith said that the partners have been successful because they consistently trained. They traveled to Houston, where Juma had done previous training to stay up to date on tactics.
“I really believe we get recognition because we are consistent,” he said. “Sometimes getting a K-9 can be done as a political reason, but Juma and I proved that wrong. We are simply a working team who do a job.”
The constable noted the partners work with other agencies in many situations.
“The cooperation of the various teams is most important. Juma and I train together and respond to each other without hesitation,” Smith added. “When we are out on the streets, the communications between police chiefs and local officers is second to none. We do our best to get to anyone who needs our help.”
Smith said Juma was gifted through K9officers.org, an organization in Houston and was trained at the Houston K9 Academy. Smith applied for Juma and commissioner’s court approved the donation.
“She has not cost the county a dime and the canine officer is valued at an estimated $38,000. That is a subjective number based on hours of training, purchase price, schooling costs, gear, dog food and veterinarian care,” Smith explained. “That is not counting what she has brought in money-wise.”
Juma will be on limited duty in the future as she will continue to visit schools, special events, and parades as well as traveling with Smith for instruction purposes to various departments. “Even though Juma will not be working the street we have another great canine asset coming to our office soon,” Smith said.
Smith urges anyone interested in donating to the organization go to their website at https://fundrazr.com/01gk58?ref=ab_18xDxc. For further information contact K9Officers.org.