Originally published in The Fresno Bee on July 24, 2009
Reno, the sheriff's dog wounded by a rifle-wielding man south of Fresno last week, came out Thursday to play ball for the first time since he lost an eye in the line of duty.
His face still shaved from surgery, the 6 1/2-year-old, 90-pound German shepherd appeared as frisky as if nothing had happened as he fetched for his partner, Fresno County sheriff's deputy Robert Marean.
The outing at the sheriff's K-9 training facility was the first time Reno has had a protective cone removed since the surgery July 15. The cone kept him from disturbing surgery stitches. Before surgery,
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Reno also had a square shaved from his side so that a pain medication patch could be applied.
Reno was shot by Jesus Serna, 32, who had earlier shot and injured Fresno County sheriff's deputy George Ozburn and shot at deputy Mark Eaton.
Eaton was injured by flying glass.
The shooting took place when deputies went to investigate a domestic violence call.
Ozburn was quickly treated and released. Eaton stayed on the scene.
When Reno was first injured, it appeared the loss of his eye would force his retirement as a K-9 deputy. Now, he may be able to return to patrol duty or for other duties, sheriff's spokesman Chris Curtice said.
The department will follow veterinarians' recommendations, Curtice said.
Reno was born in the Czech Republic and answers commands in the Czech language. He could work for three more years if he is deemed fit enough.
For now, Reno is recuperating with at home with Marean, where he's part of the family.
"He needs to heal," said Marean -- and rest, which Reno appeared eager to do after the game of fetch on a hot summer day. He lay down in the shade, obeying a Czech command from Marean.