OAKLAND COUNTY, Mich. – Oakland County sheriff's deputies did something special for a 4-year-old boy who on Wednesday began his second bone marrow transplant procedure.
Deputies Bob Loken and Chris Topacio have become best friends with Stephen Hohauser, from Rochester. The officers wanted to do something extra special for their new friend as he entered the Children's Hospital of Michigan for the procedure, which will keep Stephen in the hospital for at least the next 30 days.
Knowing Stephen's love of K-9s, the officers put the word out and asked K-9 units from across the county to join in on the surprise.
Stephen still had his special police officer's uniform and his Batman tennis shoes on Wednesday night.
"Knowing that we have the next three to five weeks being stuck in here, and what he potentially has to look forward to," Mariana Hohauser, Stephen's mother, said. "I can look back on this day today, on those days where I'm struggling, to say my kid is going to make it through this."
His cancer fight has gone international thanks to social media and his friends at the Oakland County Sheriff's Department -- both two- and four-legged.
"He doesn't just love the dogs, he adores the dogs," Loken said.
His two favorite dogs are Mordus and Iko.
"That boy has touched our hearts, deeply," Topacio said. "He's a wonderful kid. He shows us that there's hope."
Stephen loves the officers and their dogs, who helped cheer him up during his surgery. The officers also sent him pictures of their K-9s to help. Stephen got to go inside the squad cars with the officers and was greeted by all the sheriff's K-9s, whose names he knows by heart.
"It doesn't only carry him through, it carries us through," his mother said.
You can see images of Stephen in an Oakland County sheriff's vehicle with deputies and dogs below.