A K-9 deputy who was shot twice while protecting several deputies during a shootout in June, returned to work on Sunday to a hero's welcome.
Palm Beach County Sheriff's K-9 Kenzo, a black German Shepherd, was pursuing suspected gunman, Armando Gonzalez Felipe on June 4th at Casa del Monte mobile home park near Greenacres, when he was struck by two bullets.
Armando Gonzalez Felipe, who had killed his girlfriend, was killed, but not before firing at Kenzo, his handler and another deputy.
Kenzo's bravery shielded other deputies from the gunfire that was meant for them, Palm Beach County Sheriff Ric Bradshaw said.
On Sunday, both K9 Kenzo and his trainer, Deputy Rich Klaysmat, were welcomed back to work by a crowd of fellow deputies who surprised the pair at the PBSO K-9 training facility in suburban West Palm Beach.
In the two months since the shooting, Kenzo and Klaysmat spent time in Northern Minnesota undergoing rehabilitation, including daily swims.
Klaysmat said, looking back on the shooting, it is tough to think about how close he was to not only losing Kenzo, but his own life. He said words cannot describe the gratitude he has for his partner.
"If it wasn't for him, I would not be here today and I don't believe Lieutenant Burdick would be here today,' Klaysmat said. "He took two rounds that were meant for officers, he saved my life."
Klaysmat said he was not sure at first if Kenzo would return to work given his injuries and age. Kenzo is 9-years-old.
But now he is confident that Kenzo has plenty of energy left and is just looking forward to getting back out on the street to help his fellow deputies.
Klaysmat and Kenzo will officially return to work on Monday.