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K-9 Deputy Chico Gets Dental Work

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Chico's partner was shot last year while responding to a call.  Chico injured his teeth trying to get to his partner. Chico's partner was shot last year while responding to a call. Chico injured his teeth trying to get to his partner.
Jeremy James must serve at least 21 years before he's eligible for parole. Jeremy James must serve at least 21 years before he's eligible for parole.
Chico still has some more dental work to go, but he should get those titanium teeth finished up in about two weeks. Chico still has some more dental work to go, but he should get those titanium teeth finished up in about two weeks.

By Craig Day, The News On 6

JAY, OK -- Delaware County Deputy Steve Brownell was shot in the line of duty.  He has recovered and is now back on the job.  But now, it's his partner getting some much needed medical attention.

Chico fractured all four of his canine teeth.

05/06/2009  Related Story: Delaware Co. Shooting Suspect To Be Sentenced

"With him, his is more of a painful type thing.  It just hurts to eat," said veterinarian, Dr. Darlene Wehr.

His handler, Deputy Steve Brownell had to feed Chico nothing but soft food for several months.  Still, it was hard to eat, hard to keep his weight up and hard for Chico to do his police work.       

Chico's already had one titanium tooth put in, which is making a difference.

"He looks good, he's already put back 11 pounds since the first time we had him in," said Dr. Darlene Wehr.

But, Chico needs more work done.

It was a dark night, last Father's Day.  Deputy Brownell responded to a prowler call down a rural road.  Without warning, Jeremy James fired a shot from a rifle.  The bullet hit Brownell, narrowly missing an artery.

"I wanted to go home.  I wanted to go home to my wife and kids.  That was my biggest thought.  Was I going to make it home?" said Delaware County Sheriff's Deputy Steve Brownell.

All Chico could think of was getting to his partner's side.  But, he was inside the patrol car.

"He was stuck in there, and he could hear everything going on, but he couldn't get to me," said Delaware County Sheriff's Deputy Steve Brownell.

Chico damaged his teeth trying to rip through the cage to get to Brownell.

The shooting got James a 45 year prison sentence, and left Brownell facing months of difficult physical therapy.  He eventually returned to duty.

But, Chico is still feeling the effects of that near deadly night.

On Monday, Chico was getting three root canals.

"He definitely was having a lot of pain," said dentist, Dr. Tawana Bourlier.

Dr. Tawana Bourlier is the dentist working on Chico.  She's used to working on people, but has also had experience with animal dental care.  She says the anatomy is different, but the dental principles are the same.

As a girl, Dr. Bourlier wanted to be a veterinarian, but went to dental school instead.  Now, she's volunteering her time to do a little bit of both.

"To me it's no different than a human being hurt in the line of duty.  They're doing what they are supposed to do," said Dr. Tawana Bourlier.

Area school kids raised nearly $700 in a Coins for Canines Drive to be used for medical supplies.    

While Deputy Brownell watched as Chico was getting root canals in preparation for the titanium crowns.

"It's the least I can do.  If I could do any more, build him a doghouse with an air conditioner, heater.  I would do that," said Delaware County Sheriff's Deputy Steve Brownell.

The man convicted in the case, Jeremy James, must serve at least 21 years before he's eligible for parole.

Chico still has some more dental work to go, but he should get those titanium teeth finished up in about two weeks.

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