Aurora theater shooting therapy dog Chester in need of surgery

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GOLDEN, Colo. -- A therapy dog who helped victims of the Aurora theater shooting has found himself in a troubling spot.

“Chester” spent 138 hours at the Arapahoe County Justice Center tending to the needs of victims and their families during the theater trial.

“They would be crying and he knew immediately the person was in distress so he would walk up to the person and cuddle up with them,” said Kateri Nelson, Chester’s owner and handler.

On Sunday, Nelson noticed Chester’s head hanging. At first, she thought he was depressed. But a visit to the veterinarian’s office revealed Chester had a ruptured disk in his neck.

“He’s not himself,” Nelson said.

The cost of the surgery, along with recovery, is around $10,000. A victim of the theater shooting created a GoFundMe page to help Chester for helping her.

By Thursday evening, supporters helped donate more than $10,000 to help Chester.

“They were saying Chester gave so much to us it’s time to give back to him,” Nelson said.

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