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Police K9 retires amid fight for life

LEXINGTON, Ky. (WKYT) - As multimillion dollar renovations loom, it's undeniable that Rupp Arena is about to change. For the people who work here on game day, though, it already has.

"I don't think it's really going to hit me until we get home, but we've been very blessed with what we've been given," said University of Kentucky Police Lt. Rob Turner.

For nine years, through Tubby, and Billy, and Coach Cal, one constant has been University of Kentucky Police K9 Becka. Every game day, the bomb-sniffing black lab patrols the back corridors with her partner, Lt. Turner.

"She's been pretty steady as far as the training goes in detecting things. She's slowed down a bit with age. She's not easily distracted as you can see," Turner said.

She's worked Super Bowls, Derbies, US Opens, and even terrorist threats in Seattle. She is the best at what she does, but it's Rupp Arena that she calls home.

"We've been here for nine years so she's gotten attached," Turner said.

There is no question that inside these walls, the Cats are revered, but it's their dog that's family. Today is Becka's last game. It's one last time for 24,000 cats to safely commence battle thanks to her, but Becka's battle has just begun.

"Becka has a mast cell tumor. Mast cel tumor is a common thing that we see, but she has it in her airway. That is not a common place for this," said Dr. Michael Putnam, Becka's vet.

Becka's a little more than halfway through her chemo treatments at the Richmond Veterinary Clinic. Her prognosis is unclear. Turner knows the best years of his best friends life were spent sniffing for bombs. He knows how tough it's going to be to head off to work and not have her right there.

"Suddenly it's hit me that she's no longer going to be in the backseat every day that we going to work so it's slowly starting to sink in. Once it gets warm I hope she can live and on have a normal life. We can do things we've done in the past. We're taking advantage of the time we can spend together outside of work," Turner said.

On the next big blue game day Becka has earned her spot on the couch next to her partner, off the clock.


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