Hartville Police K-9 Bill Stanios is in recovery, undergoing the same advanced therapies human athletes get.

Hartville police officer Bill Stanios is getting many of the same types of physical therapy for a torn ligament in his leg that professional sports players pursue.

Officer Bill, however, is a 3-year-old German shepherd.

"I don't know whether you're getting the same treatment as the (Cleveland) Browns do, or the Browns get the same treatment as you," veterinary technician Shawna Morrow said as she moved the hand-held laser over the dog's hindquarters Tuesday inside the Belpar Pet Care Centre in Jackson Township.

Sometime around mid-August, Bill's human partner, Patrolman Don Worthy, noticed the dog was whimpering and did not want to jump back into the police cruiser after assisting Ohio Highway Patrol troopers at a traffic stop.

A resulting visit to a veterinarian revealed Officer Bill's left rear leg had a torn ACL, anterior cruciate ligament. The pain rendered him whining and unable to jump or run.

Care for the police dog, a popular and busy fixture in the Hartville community, in entirely paid for via donations.

The Hartville Police Department sold T-shirts and began taking donations after veterinarians suggested surgery was needed for a full recovery. The cost of surgery was expected to run about $5,000.

Worthy said they began selling T-shirts on a Friday night at the Lake High football game. By Monday night, they had sold out.

"Donations came from all across the country, from California to New York," Worthy said.

MedVet in Copley conducted the surgery - at a discount - on Sept. 5.

Part of the rehab includes a hydrotherapy, a type of therapy similar to a treadmill inside a tub of water. Worthy said Officer Bill Stanios gets that type of therapy at MetVet.

The other types of therapy take place at Belpar, operated by Angela and Joseph Gainey. While the donations for the K-9 are used to pay for the meds and physical therapy equipment, Bel-Par provides a discount while conducting the actual therapy as a donation to the dog's recovery.

On Tuesday, Angela Gainey and Worthy sat with Officer Bill as Morrow began to conduct the twice-weekly laser therapy.

"The laser is a beam of light that is put out at a frequency to drive blood and oxygen to the (surgery) site to promote sell growth and rest nerve endings," Gainey said. "It will reduce inflammation, offer drug-free pain relief and address any swelling."

The therapy also speeds up the healing process, she said.

"It's the same type of treatment that is given to athletes," she said.

Officer Bill Stanios has just begun the laser therapy.

But, Worthy said, he's continuing to recover nicely.

Reach Lori at 330-580-8309 or lori.steineck@cantonrep.com.

On Twitter: @lsteineckREP