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Puppy with heart defect sworn in as honorary K-9 officer

Posted at 5:35 AM, Nov 21, 2017
and last updated 2017-11-21 05:35:36-05

HAMDEN, CT (WFSB/CNN) – A 6-month-old German shepherd who has a severe heart defect was sworn in as an honorary K-9 officer as part of his bucket list.

With his head poking out of the police cruiser, puppy Arlo looked like a natural K-9 officer.

On Monday, the puppy got an honorary police badge pinned to his collar and had a photo shoot in a police car.

Sadly, Arlo was born with a heart defect – narrowing of the aortic valve – and his days are numbered.

“Most dogs, it's just kind of a ring. His is tunneled. There is a surgery they offer for this disease, but they do not offer it for his severity. He'll never make it out,” owner Ashley Sakelarakis said.

But for now, Arlo is defying the odds.

Sakelarakis says Arlo wasn’t supposed to make his 3-month checkup or his 6-month checkup, and he’s doing great at the moment.

After adopting the puppy, Sakelarakis decided to make a bucket list for man’s best friend.

As part of the list, Sakelarakis, an animal control officer, reached out to K-9 officer Kelley Cushman to see if they could do something for Arlo.

"It makes me so happy. I love having the opportunity to work with animals... but to actually give back to someone who shares the same love and just wants the best for their dog,” Cushman said.

This is just one of many bucket list items Arlo has been able to cross off, including visiting a news station and the beach and eating burgers and ice cream.

Next up, Sakelarakis hopes to take Arlo to visit another state.

Arlo’s owner says it’s bittersweet, not knowing when her pup could take a turn for the worse, but for now, she’s just thankful for the time she’s spent with him and the attention he’s getting.

Copyright 2017 WFSB via CNN. All rights reserved.