Michelle Rafferty, A Duluth Police officer, lays on the floor of the prep room with her beloved partner, Timber, after he came from the surgery suite after undergoing cataract surgery on both of his eyes Oct. 26 in Blaine, Minn.
AP Photo/Star Tribune, Stormi Gr
DULUTH, Minn. (AP) Newspaper readers were so touched by the story of a blind police dog named Timber that they paid for an operation to restore his sight.
In fact, they paid for the $2,500 surgery many times over.
Officer Michelle Rafferty was ready to cover the cost for the procedure out of her own pocket rather than let her cash-strapped department exchange her partner for a new dog.
But when a story about Timber's cataract operation and Rafferty's devotion to the dog appeared in the Star Tribune of Minneapolis last month, readers sent more than $20,000.
''It has blown me away and changed my life forever,'' Rafferty said.
Donors ranged from the rich and famous to kids who emptied their piggy banks.
Two weeks later, 22-month-old Timber appears to see well, perhaps for the first time.
When nature called last week, he had no trouble zigzagging through a stand of trees before selecting one that suited his purpose.
''He seems spunkier, a little more sassy,'' Rafferty said. ''His operating speed seems like it's picked up a little.''
The extra money went into the Duluth Police K-9 Fund, where it will pay for equipment, dogs or other needs of the unit where Timber and Rafferty serve in northern Minnesota.
Timber is about a month away from returning to work.
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