If you have been missing Lycoming County Courthouse Facility dog Jedi, it’s because he has been sick with what seems to be pancreatitis, according to his handler.
“He’s been vomiting for about a month,” said Jerri Rook, Jedi’s handler since he was purchased by the county in 2017. “He began to get really lethargic about a week ago and the vomiting continued.”
The 5-year-old companion dog is a key member of the county courthouse community. He is trained to provide emotional support to victims and is bred to be a calm and mellow presence in the courthouse, to provide a soft touch without judgement or pain.
Rook, who also is the secretary for county Judge Joy McCoy, became Jedi’s handler as he works primarily with the youth who come through McCoy’s courtroom.
Since becoming sick, Jedi has made several trips to the vet for bloodwork and X-Rays.
“About a week ago, he refused food for a day or so,” Rook said. “ After speaking with Canine Companions and their vet reviewing our records, they wanted him to see an internal specialist with an ultrasound.”
The ultrasound showed abnormality around the liver/pancreas area. There was no tumor, but it’s probably that Jedi has pancreatitis.
A biopsy of Jedi’s small intestine was taken, and Rook said she is waiting on those results, which may not be in for another week.
Depending on the results, he may require a period of hospitalization.
Work for Jedi has greatly diminished while he is sick. Normally the healthy dog would visit victims, sit during witness testimony or walk through the courthouse halls with Rook to meet with friends throughout the building.
Now, Rook said, she can’t let him do anything too stressful.
“Even though I bring him in with me so that I can watch him, I am not letting him do any really stressful work,” she said. “He can visit, but only for a short time. He tires very easily.”
While Rook is his primary handler, over the years, Jedi has become a favorite of many within the courthouse and the greater community.
The well wishes and requests for the updates are flooding in, but the ordeal has had its toll on both dog and handler.
“I’m a mess. It’s hard enough to go through something like this with your own dog, but when you have a dog that belongs to the community, it’s so hard to manage through the messages and well wishes.”
In addition, Rook makes special food for Jedi each day and tries to keep his spirits up. But after a few tail wags, the already mild mannered boy sinks back into his lethargic stupor.
“I just want my happy boy back,” she said. “I can tell when he’s happy and this is not happy.”