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K-9 Titan recovering at home after being shot by suspect

While he's getting better, it's not certain he will be able to return to duty.

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — He was shot and injured in the line of duty on March 29, and for the past three weeks, St. Petersburg‘s K-9 Titan has been recovering at a veterinary hospital.

Over the weekend, Titan finally got to go home. And lots of people no doubt wanted to know how he is doing.

He’s come a long way, but still has a long way to go.

“You're never sure how something like that will affect the dog, especially,” said Titan’s human partner, Officer Greg Shone. “So, it’s good that he is back to doing what he likes to do - in a controlled environment.”

Shone was finally able to bring Titan home from the vet this past Friday. It was a relief, he says, for both of them.

“We have a really strong bond,” said Shone. “It’s really nice to have him home and see him progressing as opposed to being in a kennel where I can’t see him. And it’s a very different feeling when you drive to and from work with him not in the car.”

RELATED: K-9 Titan 'doing great' weeks after being shot

RELATED: Titan on the mend, but future as a K9 officer remains uncertain

So far, Shone says Titan has been acting normally. Even on painkiller and a sedative, he’s frisky, and occasionally stubborn as ever - ready to work.

“The hard part now is just keeping him calm and relaxed, at home and at work,” said Shone, “Because he doesn’t understand that his leg is broken. He doesn’t understand why he’s wearing a splint. In fact, he could care less about it.”

Titan has already figured out how to slip out of his so-called "cone of shame."

 “The slightest chance to get it off, it just comes right off,” said Shone. And Titan’s teethed his way through at least one splint.

“We came home, and there were just pieces everywhere,” said Shone. “I was like, well, that’s not going to work.”

This week, Shone plans to start reintroducing Titan back to things he’s familiar with beyond his home, like his K-9 police vehicle and the department’s outdoor training facility.

But he’s got to take it slow. 

“Not letting him jump, because that’s the main thing we are worried about,” said Shone. “If he jumps and he pushes on his leg wrong, he could snap his bone in half, and that’s what the main concern is because he doesn’t realize that.”

It will still be at least two months, for example, and maybe twice that before Titan is ready to tackle the department’s K-9 agility course again.

Until then, Shone’s priority is to give Titan the best shot at recovery he can. That means keeping his K-9 partner calm, so he doesn’t re-injure his paw.

RELATED: St. Pete K-9 shooting takes emotional, professional toll on department

RELATED: Sheriff's sergeant, K-9 shot during traffic stop in St. Petersburg

Shone says Titian lost about 45% of the bone in the area he was shot. His veterinarian says it’s now starting to grow back.

“The X-ray says that it’s healing, which is good,” said Shone. “And we are hopeful that it’s going to continue to heal in a timely fashion.”

Shone says it’s also possible with Titan’s paw being in a cast so long, that he will need some physical therapy as well.

It’s not enough to simply heal, though. If Shone and his four-legged partner are going to team up again to catch bad guys. Titan has got to be able to perform at that level.

The good news is, he’s in the right track.

Shone, the vet, even Titan himself seems determined to make that happen.

“It’s good to have him back even in the limited capacity that I have him,” said Shone, “But, it’s a great feeling. (I'm) happy that he’s home.”

We also checked on the Pinellas deputy shot in the shoulder the same day. Sgt. David Stang is also not back at work yet, but he, too, is said to be recovering well.

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