ST. FRANCIS, Wis. — Dogs mean a lot to their owners, and for one retired K9, he means a whole lot to his community.

After almost seven years of service with the St. Francis Police Department, K9 Bane retired in 2020. Within the last three months, he was diagnosed with degenerative myelopathy. His journey hasn’t been an easy one, but with the community behind him, he’s finding a way to smile.

(Spectrum News/Megan Marshall)

When Bane retired, he found the luxury of living a more laid-back lifestyle at 11 years old. He’s spent most of his life serving the St. Francis community and being a partner in crime to detective Holly McManus.

“After protecting me and the community for so many years, this is the least I could to do, give back to him for his dedication and selfless service, for sure,” McManus said.

Bane is a dog made for duty. He is always on watch and you can see the passion he had for his job. However, three months ago, he had to slow down even more in his retirement.

(Spectrum News/Megan Marshall)

“His [degenerative myelopathy] is really the cause of the paralysis and the issues that we are having,” McManus said.

For McManus, who has spent every waking minute with her best friend, it hasn’t been easy to see him change. The diagnosis of DM is similar to a human having ALS. It’s a slow but sad process to witness, especially in someone you love.

“I’ve only known him to be a strong alpha K9 to where his main concern was where I am and how I am doing. It’s been hard to watch him go downhill,” she said.

But with the support of the community around them it’s made this transitional time more bearable by knowing how many people love and support him. He has fundraisers online that have raised enough money to pay his medical bills. They are also raising money to make a statue K9 Bane outside the police department that will honor other K9’s and their service as well.

“The support that has come out of his struggles and his journey is what’s getting me through every day,” McManus said.

Although his days are nearing the end, he wakes up each day and chooses to be the best companion he can be while bringing positivity to the community he’s given his life to.

(Spectrum News/Megan Marshall)

“The things that Bane has taught me have made me the officer I am today,” McManus said. “I couldn’t be more thankful for our time together, the struggles that we had, the bond that we have, the accomplishments that we have together. I am truly blessed.”

Click here for more on Bane’s story.