Four-legged hero still on the job, but diagnosed with inoperable cancer

SEATTLE -- Seattle K-9 officer Dennis has been on the job for quite some time.

"We`ve gone to over a thousand calls in ... five years," his handler, Seattle police officer Craig Williamson, said Friday. "Nothing`s ever blown up after we`ve left, no one`s gotten hurt because he failed to do his job."

And, "he`s produced a lot of smiles along the way."

Williamson has developed quite an attachment to Dennis.

"This is a four-legged, furry family member, as close a family member as if I had a child," he said.

Three weeks ago, Williamson noticed Dennis' breathing had changed and that something was off.

"I took him in to get checked; they ran some tests, they did some surgery and they found he has a terminal form of cancer," Williamson said.

The cancer is in Dennis' chest and it is inoperable. Doctors are doing what they can to slow the growth using chemotherapy, anything, to give the 7 1/2-year-old lab more time.

"Optimistically, they've said six to 12 months," Williamson said.

Until then, Dennis and Williamson are enjoying their time together.

"He`s the first thing I see in the morning, he`s the last thing I see at night ... I can`t think of life without him but I know it now it`s gonna happen."

Dennis isn't retired just yet. But these days he's spending less time on the clock.

"He gets to get up on the bed" and he may get some pizza crust and popcorn. "When you know that time is short, you end up savoring more."

Williamson and Dennis will be the Mariners' opening day on April 6. They're hoping you will take the time to stop by and say hello.