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Billerica police K-9 given new chance at life after bout with cancer

Blue, the former Billerica police K-9, is looking for a new owner.
Blue, the former Billerica police K-9, is looking for a new owner.(MSPCA)

After a battle with cancer, a 3-year-old former Billerica police K-9 is looking for a new home.

Blue, a dusty-brown bloodhound, worked with Billerica police “tracking suspects using his unparalleled sense of smell,” the Massachusetts Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals said in a statement. In mid-April, his trainer brought him to the veterinarian after spotting a fatty growth on his right front leg.

“We thought it was just a fatty cyst, the kind of growth that is so common with dogs,” Billerica police Sergeant John Harring, Blue’s trainer, said in the statement.

The visit would ultimately reveal that Blue had soft tissue sarcoma, a type of cancer that needs quick intervention to stop it from spreading or growing, the MSPCA said.

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Blue was given to the MSPCA’s Nevins Farm in Methuen by the police so officials there could try to save his life. Blue was checked out by the team there before he was taken to the MSPCA’s Angell Animal Medical Center in Jamaica Plain, where it was determined that he would need to have the leg amputated for a better chance of long-term survival, the MSPCA said.

“Amputation would offer Blue the best chance of trying to cure this form of cancer,” Dr. Nick Trout, who performed the surgery, said in a statement.

The amputation was performed May 7. As of Thursday, Blue is continuing to recover at Nevins Farm. Although the amputation means he can no longer be a police K-9, he is now able to be adopted, the MSPCA said.

“He is a wonderful dog — well trained, friendly and social — and we think his new ‘tripod’ status makes him all the more adorable,” Meaghan O’Leary, director of the adoption center at the MSPCA at Nevins Farm, said in the statement.

Those who are interested in adopting Blue are encouraged to e-mail methuenadoptions@mspca.org or to visit the adoption center in Methuen.

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Breanne Kovatch can be reached at breanne.kovatch@globe.com. Follow her on Twitter @breannekovatch.