Police dog in rehab afterspinal surgery

Shannon BeattieNorth West Telegraph
Hander Tom Gryta with Pilbara District police dog Maygar.
Camera IconHander Tom Gryta with Pilbara District police dog Maygar. Credit: Alicia Perera

A police dog handler based in Port Hedland has spoken of his heartbreak after a freak accident forced his beloved Belgian shepherd Maygar into likely retirement.

Senior Constable Tom Gryta was training three-year-old Maygar on Friday, February 22, when the dog had a fall on level ground and injured his spine.

“We train three or four times during every shift; this was just a total freak accident and it’s devastating because it’s something we do all the time,” Sen. Const. Gryta said.

Maygar was taken straight to the South Hedland Vet Hospital and flown to the animal hospital at Murdoch University.

As luck would have it, he was put on the last flight a dog could fly on for about four days.

“It was a pretty awesome effort from the wider community; everyone helped us out and worked really hard to make it happen,” Sen. Const. Gryta said.

“He didn’t have much time to get down to Perth and because of everyone going above and beyond he has been given the best chance to make a recovery and be pain-free.”

Maygar underwent surgery to alleviate pressure on his spine and returned home to Port Hedland late last week. He will now undergo extensive physio and rehab, although it is unlikely he will ever return to the job.

“It’s still day by day, but the injury sustained is really severe and I’m devastated for him,” Sen. Const. Gryta said.

“For me, it’s about aiming on giving the dog a good quality of life and ensuring he is fit and healthy; anything we get beyond that will be a bit of a miracle.”

South Hedland-based Pilbara District inspector Craig Parkin said Maygar’s potential retirement didn’t mean Hedland would be losing its police dog. “We’re working with the canine section to get a relief dog and handler, as well as a permanent replacement for if it comes to that,” he said.

Maygar is the first dual-trained police dog and, since arriving in Hedland 18 months ago, he has assisted in scent work and active arrests all over the Pilbara and the Kimberley.

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