Forced into retirement, injured K-9 officer to join partner's family in West St. Paul

- A West St. Paul police dog was forced into early retirement after suffering a brutal beating from a suspect he was chasing.

He was going to be sent back to his breeder because the officer and his family couldn't afford to adopt him. But then, the community stepped in.

Officer Joseph Gobely was particularly distraught when he found out he may have to part ways with the dog. After all, there’s a special bond between an officer and his K-9 partner.

Gobely said he’s loved dogs since he was kid, so he jumped at the chance to have a K-9 partner.

“It's kind of re-assuring that you have a partner back there that's ready to help you immediately," Gobely said.

After tackling a suspect this spring, 3-year-old Doc was punched in the face by the wanted felon.

The vet said if Doc remains with the force, he could become paralyzed.

“That's the tough part for the family. That's what's been hard," he said.

Realizing he could lose his partner was devastating enough, but his family had become so attached to Doc, they wanted to adopt him.

But, it would cost thousands of dollars, and Doc was still under warranty from the canine importer in Florida. The couple also needed approval from the city to legally transfer Doc from the police department to the Gobely home.

"They raised so much just to keep him for us. It's been wonderful, so that's what's choking me up - not so much the dog - it's the family and community support," he said.

Gobely can barely contain his emotion when he sees Jennifer Perry, who started the GoFundMe page.

Perry is a local business owner and grew to love Doc through community events like National Night Out. When she heard about the officer's situation she vowed to help.

“I just said ‘Joe, that's not going to happen, we're going to raise the money,’ and I promised him," Perry said.

The GoFundMe page raised $8,000 in just a few days.

With the funds and the city's approval, Doc will officially join the Gobely home.

"It's kind of bittersweet,” he said. “He's been an unbelievable dog. He's been more than I've expected out of a canine partner."

Gobely has another German Shepard he adopted a few years ago, but said she and Doc already get along great.

The officer will be getting a new K-9 partner in December.

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