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Lynwood's Courageous K-9 Gets Hero's Welcome After Spinal Surgery

CHICAGO (CBS) -- A hero's homecoming for a Lynwood police dog named Dante who suffered a serious spinal injury earlier this year.

CBS 2's Mike Puccinelli has the story from Dyer where the courageous canine returned home.

The story of Dante touched people as far away as Australia. But on Monday, it was all about a hometown hero finally coming home after more than a month of rehab.

With its lights flashing and sirens blaring, it was clear to the rain soaked crowd lining the streets of a Dyer subdivision that Dante the K9 was coming home. But this was no ordinary homecoming.

Because Dante is no ordinary dog.

He's a police canine who's been serving the people of Lynnwood for six years. But in late January, Dante accidentally slid into some heavy equipment and became partially paralyzed.

It wasn't clear if he'd ever walk again.

"I'm so happy  he's home," said Staci Goveia of Protecting K9 Heroes. "Overwhelming for sure to see the neighbors out."

Luke Tambrini has been Dante's handler and partner for the past six years. So bringing his beloved dog home amid a groundswell of community support was moving for this veteran cop.

"It's an overwhelming amount of support. It's what got me through all this," Tambrini said as he choked back tears.

Dante is walking again, in part because of the help of the Protecting K9 Heroes organization, which raised more than $10,000 dollars for the animal's surgery and rehabilitation.

Many of those that contributed were lining the streets Monday to welcome Dante home.

"I think it's just so cool to honor the dog Dante," said fifth grader Megan McCloskey. "Because he's helped the police department. He's helped probably so many other people.

Also there, the Deputy Chief of the Lynnwood Police Department. He said they were there for Dante because the K9 was there for officer Tambrini, single-handedly taking down an armed gunman during an arrest.

"Without Dante being there, it could have been a very different ending," said Lynwood Deputy Chief of Police Terry Shubert.

A bond between two officers and the community they call home.

"I promised him the best of care. Everyone here helped me make good on that promise," Tambrini said.

At this point, it's not clear whether Dante will return to work. What is clear is that the community came together to make sure his return home was unforgettable.

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