Donors pitch in for injured police dog Rico

Rico walks like a drunken sailor, his hind end teetering unsteadily, almost as if it's disconnected from his front.

But the Petaluma Police canine officer can walk. He's alive. Less than two months ago, that was uncertain.

Today, Rico is recovering at home from near-fatal injuries he suffered in a two-story leap during a training exercise.

On April 15, Rico burst through a barrier and jumped from a second-story landing, 20 feet or more, breaking his first vertebrae, rupturing a disc in his back and puncturing a lung. When his handler and partner, Officer Michael Page, reached him, Rico wasn't yelping or whimpering.

"I thought he was dead," Page said this week, gently stroking Rico's head. "I was petting him, offering comfort. I thought he was dying and I just wanted to be there with him."

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