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Riverhead Police: K-9 Vaki dies after infection

Vaki, a K-9 with the Riverhead Police Department

Vaki, a K-9 with the Riverhead Police Department for seven years, has died after suffering from a neurological infection, police said. Credit: Riverhead Police Department

Riverhead Town police is mourning the loss of one of its canine members.

Vaki, an 8-year-old German shepherd who served the department for 7 years, recently suffered a “severe neurological infection” and was euthanized Aug. 26, according to police.

The dog was praised by his handler, officer Jack Doscinski, of Riverhead, for his “drive and resilience.”

“If he even heard me touch my car keys or saw me put on my blue uniform he’d go running out and be out by the car waiting to go,” Doscinski said of his canine companion. “I never had to call him and he never stopped wanting to help.”

The pair were credited with recovering evidence and apprehending criminals in robbery, burglary and assault cases throughout the town and across the East End, the department said. And most recently, they helped in the recovery of large quantities of narcotics and cash, police said.

But last Thursday, Doscinski noticed there was something wrong with the German shepherd that slept at the foot of his bed every night and was “like a member of the family.”

“All of a sudden he had no appetite, developed a bad fever and he had a difficult time walking. Almost like he was wobbling,” he said.

Doscinski took Vaki to the East End Veterinary Emergency and Specialty Center where they spotted the neurological infection.

“The prognosis was not good and he was declining so fast, that they said the best thing to do at that point was to put him to sleep,” said Doscinski, who said he stayed with the dog as he was euthanized last Friday.

That night he buried Vaki in the dog’s “favorite spot,” a shady patch of Doscinski’s backyard under a cluster of pine trees where the pooch would play with his dog toys.

“We were attached at the hip. I expected him to continue on for a while yet,” Doscinski said. “But we did everything we possibly could and I’m just glad he didn’t have to suffer long.”

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