Meet Cancer Treatment Grant Recipient: Enforcement K-9 Xantho
Our first Police K9
cancer treatment grant recipient
(provided January 2010) is an 8-year-old German
Shepherd named Xantho. For 5 years, Xantho has worked 40 hours a
week, engaged in police patrol and narcotics detection with the
Little Rock, Arkansas Police Dept. But, he has now been
sidelined due to a recently discovered hemangiosarcoma. Famous
for his repeated bravery and success, his partner, Officer James
Tankersley is far from alone in grieving this diagnosis.
Xantho is quite the famous K-9 in Little Rock. In May 2009 he
helped the Little Rock Police solve a string of burglaries. All
of them were committed by the same man, who as he was arrested,
fought with officers and police canine Xantho. He actually tried
to poke out Xantho's eyes, and Xantho did receive a small cut
under one eye. But, as you can see on the left, the burglar was
no match for this boy (who definitely hates bad guys). Limping
out of the station, covered in bandages, we think this crook
will think again about trying to hurt a K-9 Officer.
On Wednesday December 2nd 2009, K-9 Xantho was
taken into Briarwood Animal Hospital after Officer Tankersley
noticed he was not feeling well. Dr. Bob Hale examined Xantho
and took x-rays of his abdomen. After reviewing the x-rays, Dr.
Hale discovered that Xantho's spleen was enlarged and he had an
abnormal amount of air trapped in his large and small
intestines. Dr. Hale then performed and ultrasound on Xantho's
abdomen and identified what he thought was an abnormal mass on
Xantho's spleen and blood in his abdomen.
Dr. Hale consulted with Dr. Anthony Gary who is an Internal
Medicine Specialist with Arkansas Veterinary Internal Medicine.
Dr. Gary brought in his mobile ultrasound and, after examining
Xantho, confirmed Dr. Hale's diagnosis of a tumor on Xantho's
spleen. Since Xantho was in pain and was bleeding into his
abdomen, Drs. Hale and Gary said that the only two choices of
action would be surgery or euthanasia.
Dr. Hale believed that Xantho was strong enough to be a good
candidate for a Splenectomy and, if the tumor were to found to be
benign, then Xantho should have a full recovery. Chief Stuart
Thomas was informed of the situation and agreed that, if there
was a chance that Xantho would recover, he should have the
This was a difficult decision for Chief Thomas to
make because he has been forced to run the Police Department on
a very tight budget. In an attempt to ease some of the burden,
Police K9 Association worked with Chief
Thomas to help pay for the cost of Xantho's surgery and
On Thursday morning, Dr. Hale brought in his personal dog, Roux,
to be a blood donor for Xantho. After receiving a blood
transfusion from Roux, Xantho underwent surgery to remove his
spleen and the attached tumor.
We added Xantho to our foundation newsletter, detailing his
plight as well as more information about hemangiosarcoma.
Just click here.
Officer James "Jim" Tankersley & K-9 Xantho
In late 1999 the Little Rock Police Citizen’s Police Academy Alumni
Association offered to donate a K-9 to the police department. An
announcement was made of an upcoming opening on the K-9 Unit and
Officer Tankersley applied. In early 2000 the dog that the LRPCPAA
had donated arrived and he was selected to become the newest member
of the LRPD K-9 Unit. Officer Tankersley was partnered with “Beck”,
a German Shepherd, and they began to bond and train together. During
this time he also learned how to select, develop and train new K-9’s
and has since trained or assisted in the training of seven K-9’s and
their handlers. After a distinguished four-year career, Beck
became sick with a still unknown illness that persisted off and on
for three months. On the night of May 4th 2004, after tracking and
apprehending a fleeing felon, Beck’s fever spiked and he appeared
to be suffering from severe joint pain. Officer Tankersley took him
first to the emergency Vet and then in to his regular Vet when they
opened the next morning. Unfortunately, Beck could not overcome
his illness and he passed away that day.
A search was begun for a new partner, and Xantho, a German
Shepherd with papers from the Netherlands, arrived that summer from
Czechoslovakia along with the four other dogs. In the fall of 2004
Xantho and Officer Tankersley certified in Patrol and Narcotics
and they hit the streets.
Although an extremely high energy and high drive dog, when in “work
mode” Xantho was happy to give big wet “kisses” to anyone who would
let him. When it was time to work, there is no doubt that he is
around because, as the other handlers have pointed out, he sounded
like a hyena. He loved finding bad guys and narcotics, but playing
with his toy was his favorite pastime.
Some of Xantho’s awards and recognitions include:
Arkansas 2005 Outstanding Law Enforcement
Officer of the Year award for District 2
LRPD Medal of Merit in 2006
Awards from the National Narcotics
Detector Dog Association for narcotics detection in 2005 and
Story about Xantho in the book K-9
Heroes by Jim Mayfield, Ph.D.
FEBRUARY 2010 UPDATE
Although Xantho had been doing
very well since his surgery and during his chemo treatments, the
cancer returned and caused bleeding into his abdomen. As a result of
the bleeding, Xantho's abdomen became distended and he developed
severe anemia. Xantho took a turn for the worse and began to
have trouble walking. Xantho didn't meet Officer Tankersley at the
door when he came home from work and he refused to eat or drink
throughout the day. Officer Tankersley could tell that Xantho was in
distress and that his quality of life had deteriorated to the point
that he was no longer a happy dog. Officer Tankersley made the
difficult decision that it was time to take Xantho in to Dr. Hale's
office for one last visit. After the staff said their goodbye's,
Xantho was humanely euthanized at 4:50pm. Xantho, who passed away quietly
with Officer Tankersley at his side, will have a private