Blount County hero dog receives lifesaving treatment

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MARYVILLE, Tenn. (WVLT) -- When people wear the Blount County Sheriff's Office badge, they devote their life to helping others.

Kopper, a Belgian Malinois, gave the sheriff's office 10 years; even saving his partner, Cpl. Matt Thompson.

"Little did I know there was a second party approaching me behind and Copper saw him," Thompson said.

But recently this hero dog needed a little saving himself. Kopper was diagnosed with prostate cancer and given seven months to live.

"It was devastating. It was just a ton of questions," Thompson said.

A doctor in California, with a cutting-edge treatment, came to the rescue.

"Basically where you go into the blood vessel that supplies the tumor and you try to essentially stop blood flow going to that tumor so you can take away it's nutrition," said Dr. Bill Culp of the UC Davis Veterinary Medical Teaching Hospital.

Culp, who is an assistant professor and soft tissue surgeon, said this is not a procedure used to treat cancer in humans. It's actually fairly new in human medicine and used to treat enlarged prostates.

It's been seven months since Kopper's diagnosis and he's going strong.

And while his cancer will never fully be in remission, this hero K-9 will be able to live a happy life with his partner.

"Just the fact that we're a team and we work together... it's actually indescribable unless you've done this," Thompson said.

Kopper is 15 and a half years old, according to Thompson, and has already surpassed a Belgian Malinois expected lifespan.