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Service Dog With Cancer Becomes K9 For A Day, Fulfilling Bucket List “Just hold your babies a little closer tonight and appreciate everything you have. It goes so quickly,” said Baxter’s mom and it is so true. ❤️


A Bassett Hound named Baxter dreamed of being a big, brave police dog.  He had been a service dog for most of his life so after he was diagnosed with cancer, his mom wanted to make his dream come true.

According to his owner, Shannon Hartz, 12-year-old Baxter is battling mastocytoma, also known as mast cell tumors.  Mastocytoma effects the connective tissues, usually the skin, lungs, nose, and mouth.  Every day, the tumors are cutting his precious life just a little shorter.

During his time left, Shannon is giving him the best life possible and that includes making his doggy dreams come true.  The Middletown Police Department fulfilled one of his dreams by making him a K9 for a day.

Hartz told Fox 61 News that she adopted Baxter when he was the size of a “floor tile” at three months old.  She said she’d “never seen a dog look at their person the way he looks at me.”  Baxter helps his mom, who suffers from a condition that makes it difficult for her to walk and participate in social activities.  He also volunteers at the Wadsworth Glen Rehab Center as a therapy dog.

On his special day, Officer Aura Smith of the Middletown Police Department picked up the adorable Baxter and Shannon from his home and took him to work.  He got to ride in a police cruiser wearing a K9 uniform, received a service patch, went for a walk with K9 Diesel, went on foot patrol, and then returned home.  According to Hartz, he got a B+ for his first day on the job.

The Middleton Police Department Tweeted:

“Service dog Baxter is twelve years old. He has been a service dog for five years. He and his owner recently found out that Baxter has terminal cancer. His owner Shannon Hartz reached out to us, Baxter had a bucket list to complete before his time to go. Baxter dreamed of being a police K-9. Officer Aura Smith was ready to make it happen. So today, Diezel took the back seat for his new K-9 partner. Baxter took a ride around town in the cruiser, patrolled Main Street and found out just how tiring it is to be a police K-9. During his time as a service dog, Baxter would visit the residents of Wadsworth Glen and brighten their day. He also is a big philanthropist and participated in several charity walks. Restoring Hope Ministries in Naugutuck was his most memorable, raising money for on orphanage in the Dominican Republic.”

Baxter’s mom is so happy that he got to fulfill his dream and she took lots of pictures knowing that one day, he will no longer be here.  She’s going to miss him so much.  He’s such a brave and good boy.  He’s also had 4 strokes, had major surgery, and suffers from a heart murmur.  His mom said:

“Just hold your babies a little closer tonight and appreciate everything you have. It goes so quickly.”

We think Baxter is so brave and are so happy for him that he got to check police K9 off his bucket list.  We wish him all the best as he continues to live his best life.  Please share his story with your family and friends.

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