PORTAGE | Portage police canine Officer Eros was recovering well from emergency spinal surgery until Thursday when the eight-year veteran suffered a setback.

Eros' handler, Sgt. Mark Monks, said Eros did well through the surgery, spent five days in Chicago in rehabilitation and came home Wednesday. His front legs seemed stronger, but the family still had to walk him with a special harness to support his rear legs.

Then Thursday, said Monks, "he decided he wouldn't stand up." A series of X-rays taken Friday morning indicate the problem isn't in the area of the surgery, but veterinarians are concerned he may have additional spinal damage elsewhere in his back. The German shepherd is also dealing with a urinary tract infection.

Monks said the family will be taking care of Eros at home this weekend, hoping he perks up. If not, he may have to be taken back to the veterinarian in Chicago for further diagnosis.

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Monks said Eros has had an outpouring of support from the community. The department paid for the initial medical tests. Monks decided he would pick up the cost of Eros' surgery and aftercare. However, said Monks, the department has decided to pick up the cost of the surgery.

"We are grateful they stepped in and we're very appreciative of all the donations," said Monks, adding the donations have almost covered Eros' medical expenses thus far.

Monks said additional donations are welcomed and appreciated. Any funds received above and beyond the need to care for Eros will be given to the department to place in a fund for the care of future canine officers.

Donations can be dropped off or mailed to Regional Federal Credit Union, 389 W. U.S. 6 Valparaiso, IN 46385 or to 6212 U.S. 6, Box 145, Portage, IN 46368 or dropped off at Portage Animal Clinic, 3411 Airport Road. Collection jars have been set up at various businesses and at all Portage Township schools. A PayPal account has been established and can be accessed through PayPal and markjenmonks@hotmail.com or a link via a You Tube video of Eros at eros.mpg.

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