“Dear Lord,” Harrisburg Police Sgt. Tyron Meik said as he suited himself and his K-9 partner, Zeke, up to apprehend a suspect, one who was likely armed, “please don’t let him get shot.”
It was March 15, 2013.
Meik and Zeke, a Belgian malinois, had been partners awhile. Meik told reporters for the York Daily Record that Zeke was a little crazy back then and, with affection, that his dog was not the prettiest pup in the litter, but they were friends, partners, officers. Meik loved his partner.
And so that day at the edge of the woods, when his gut told him something bad was going to happen, he was filled with a sense of dread as Zeke caught the subject’s scent amid the thick growth of pine trees. He looked over the dog’s head and saw the man there, waiting.
“Show me your hands! Show me your hands!” he cried.
Earlier, the subject had shot at detectives. As he began to run, Meik could see he still had the gun. They were near a school where kids were playing. And officers around the perimeter were as yet unaware there was an armed suspect running toward them. Meik made the decision to stop the threat. He released Zeke.
Seconds later, the dog had the suspect by the leg. And then: BANG.
“Don’t shoot the dog! Don’t shoot the dog!” Meik shouted.
Five more shots sounded as fellow officers closed in from the perimeter. The subject was dead. But the damage to Zeke had been done. Meik grasped his partner, his hands came away covered in blood.
He tried to staunch the bleeding — Zeke had been shot in the neck — with a finger, then a coat thrown to him by a detective. A helicopter was called. Meik’s only thought was saving his partner’s life.
Miraculously, Zeke made it to the Rossmoyne Animal Emergency Trauma Center. Doctors told the officer that if the K-9 survived the night, they’d operate. Meik stayed by his side the entire time and Zeke had his surgery. Time ticked past; each second increasing the odds that he’d make it.
Miraculously, six weeks after the shooting, after IVs and surgery and medication and rehab, Zeke returned to full-duty alongside his partner. Meik says they have been even more connected since the incident.
Though Zeke has continued to work, last year he began having some back problems. He’s had surgery, but the issues remain. At 6, he is nearing retirement age, anyway.
Meik says it will be hard having to go to work and leave Zeke home, but that his partner’s retirement will be very well earned. He will be happy knowing Zeke is far from danger, napping peacefully, just being a deeply loved dog.