Police Spot Cancerous Tumor on Explosive Detection Dog’s Jaw—Then a Few Friends Step up to Help

Police Spot Cancerous Tumor on Explosive Detection Dog’s Jaw—Then a Few Friends Step up to Help
(Courtesy of Bensalem Township Police Department)
Epoch Inspired Staff
12/3/2023
Updated:
12/3/2023
0:00

He was raised for dangerous duty from the tender age of 9 months. Now, 7-year-old Asko is well versed in the art of explosive materials detection, sniffing out bombs and bomb components, working alongside the Bensalem Police Department.

Asko is, of course, a police dog. After his half-dozen years serving the Pennsylvanian township of Bensalem, gratitude for the K9 officer’s devotion was shown by locals in animal health—they operated to remove a growth which was discovered under the German shepherd’s jaw last Memorial Day.

The K9’s handler who once regularly patrolled with Asko is Lt. Michael Schum. When duty calls, Lt. Schum and Asko respond to investigate potential bomb threats; but more often lately, Lt. Schum works inside in administration, while Asko’s duties have lightened also.

Last spring, Asko had been making his rounds greeting the secretaries in the office. And during one of their happy cuddling sessions last Memorial Day, the ladies discovered it.

Lt. Michael Schum and Asko. (Courtesy of Bensalem Township Police Department)
Lt. Michael Schum and Asko. (Courtesy of Bensalem Township Police Department)

“Some of the girls here, they started petting him, and they found something underneath his jaw. That’s how it was discovered,” Lt. Schum told The Epoch Times. “It was like a little skin tag—a little bump. And it grew by July to the size of a marble.”

The unhappy find was followed up by a prompt trip to the vet, where the bump was diagnosed as a tumor growing on Asko’s jaw.

Asko would make a full recovery after the cancer was fully cleared out, fortunately, and Lt. Schum wagers the dog would continue serving for a further three years—though it’s likely all thanks to several new friends who saved his life.
“The tumor was successfully removed by Doctor David Puerto of BluePearl Veterinary Hospital in Langhorne, PA,” the Bensalem Police Department shared in a press release on Facebook, adding that the care provided was “unmatched.”

“That was in August,” Lt. Schum told the newspaper. “Then they referred me to another clinic in Malvern—same [hospital], BluePearl.”

Asko the K9 explosive detection dog poses for a group photo with his human friends and colleagues after his surgery. (Courtesy of Bensalem Township Police Department)
Asko the K9 explosive detection dog poses for a group photo with his human friends and colleagues after his surgery. (Courtesy of Bensalem Township Police Department)

Starting in October, Asko would undergo four weeks of radiation therapy in the care of Dr. Siobhan Haney, which was “kind of tough on him,” the officer said. Although lethargic from the treatment, the explosives detection K9 never went off duty throughout his ordeal, and eventually all the cancer was wiped out.

“He went back to work the same day actually,” Lt. Schum said. “Sometimes he didn’t have the stamina, now I’m building his stamina back up.”

Asko still has to have annual screenings. They say the tumor didn’t penetrate to the bone—which is good. “I don’t know if that’s the technical term, but he’s in remission,” Lt. Schum said. “They did a great job with the surgery.”

Asko’s job is still sniffing for explosives. And although his handler no longer patrols the beat regularly, nevertheless, if the call comes—and it often does—from an agency in need or what have you, they’re out there doing a bomb sweep, or whatever they have to do.

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