Former K-9 handler buys back his partner

BURLINGTON, Iowa--Ryan Smith gets Asta out to the park as much as he can while working on her normal commands, but overall they are just enjoying their time in the sun.

"On duty it's more of a serious relationship," said Smith.

Just a few months ago both Smith and Asta were with the Burlington Police Department.

"It's pretty much not being a pet but being a tool," said Smith. 

Now all of that is in the past. Smith chose to move on from the department, but he never forgot about his four-legged friend.

After he left, Asta was sent down to the K-9 trainers in Florida to keep her in training, but while she was there, they noticed something was wrong.

"With the pancreatic insufficiency that she has, he thought there was going to be a risk of the treatment not working and her not taking to another handler," said Smith. The insufficiency and the chance of her not taking to a new handler was a huge financial risk to the department.

Asta she was medically retired from the force and instead of being sold to another agency, they reached out to Smith.

"I really wanted her back. Two and a half years with her, I mean she's my best friend," said Smith.

To get her back he had to pay $8,000.

"My aunt started a GoFundMe page and we raised $3,700 through that, a couple of private donations we're close to $6,000 right now," said Smith. The reunion was worth every penny.

"I pulled up and she kinda tilted her head to the side I got out and her tail started waggin' real quick and then the trainer let her out she ran around and then ran towards me and jumped," said Smith.

He still has a little over two grand to pay off on her but he was able to bring her home in time for her birthday in late August.

Smith has no doubts that she is easily a member of his family.

If you are interested in helping him buy Asta back click here. Anything donated beyond $8,000 will go to the Burlington Police Department so they can continue the K-9 program.

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