Dog's recovery from four surgeries took a 'significant and rapid' turn for the worse

Photo Credit: REVIEW FILE PHOTO: VERN UYETAKE - Officer Bryan McMahon and Kai take a break in the shade during a visit to the Lake Oswego Farmers Market in August. Kai, who for the past seven years had served as one of the Lake Oswego Police Department’s two K-9s before being forced to retire two weeks ago because of medical problems, was euthanized Saturday to prevent further suffering.

Ilkay “Kai” von Schmausenbuck had been diagnosed with canine degenerative myelopathy, an incurable progressive disease of the spinal cord. Over the past year, Kai had undergone several surgeries to repair two hernias and two of his knees. In mid-August, it appeared he would recover and return to work, but his condition worsened.

Photo Credit: REVIEW FILE PHOTO: VERN UYETAKE - As a team, Officer Bryan McMahon and Kai tracked down 87   people over the course of the dogs career, including four who were lost and endangered.The dog’s handler, Officer Bryan McMahon, said he had hoped that Kai’s health would improve to the point that he would be able to live out his retirement at home. But when it became obvious that Kai’s quality of life had declined significantly and rapidly — and that his condition would only worsen — the decision was made to euthanize the popular K-9.

“Officer McMahon, his family and our department are mourning the loss of this amazing team member,” the department said. “Kai was a valuable asset to our department and community. He had been instrumental in finding missing dementia patients and suspects alike. We are committed to continuing this great program of service to our community and our officers.”

Kai started his career with the Lake Oswego Police Department in 2007, when he was 2 years old. Over the course of his career, he tracked down 87 people, including four who were lost and endangered.

McMahon and Kai were often found patrolling the streets of Lake Oswego, making presentations at schools or the Lake Oswego Farmers Market. In 2011, Kai was named “Top Dog” at the Washington County K-9 Trials. But even top dogs break down, and late last year McMahon noticed that Kai was starting to slip.

“A police dog is like a professional athlete,” McMahon said last month. “Kai has had a lot of wear and tear. He jumps 6-foot fences, runs over hills and climbs stairs. I could see that his knees were wobbly and that he was not walking normally.”

Kai spent eight months recuperating from his surgeries, including two 60-day stretches of being confined to a kennel and not allowed to move. He appeared to be recovering and, in early August, made an appearance at the downtown farmers market, where he was greeted with love and admiration.

Officials said, however, that his condition deteriorated “significantly and rapidly,” making it impossible for him to live a happy life at home.

"It is amazing just how much we relied on Kai each day, from finding missing people to capturing fleeing suspects to winning the hearts of our community," said Police Chief Don Johnson. "Kai was our true partner, and we are really going to miss him."

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