Protecting Metro's K-9 partners in the line of duty

Most police officers have first aid training so they can help people until an ambulance arrives. But what happens when one of Metro's K-9 partners gets hurt?

As News 3's Sophia Choi and the Crime Tracker Team found out, Metro officers are now learning to help them, too.

SWAT teams, search and rescue teams, and everyday patrol officers work with police dogs. And now, they'll all be able to help if one of their four-legged friends is injured.

"Basically, we'd just throw them into the squad car and take them over to the vet," says Eric Husson, search and rescue volunteer. "So now we can at least provide some care, initially, and then get them going to the hospital. The biggest thing though is their paws beause that's the thing that gets injured the most often."

There's one big difference between wrapping an injured paw and wrapping a person's foot. And this means extra effort to keep the wrap from getting too tight.

"That's the hardest part - a dog can't tell you what's wrong with him, so you got to kind of try to figure it out."

Half the training is done on live dogs; the other part of the training is done on cadaver dogs. It's a little graphic, but it's a necessary tool.

The training also includes CPR for dogs. One form is just like CPR on a person, while another version is applied specifically for a dog's anatomy: two people alternate compressing the dog's chest and stomach.

"It's absolutely essential and it's new - new how many people are getting trained at it," explains Jo-Anne Brenner, National Police Dog Foundation. "We want to make sure as many handlers, as many medics, as many tactical medics, docs, (and) human docs have exposure to the training. So it can really make a difference if any of the K-9s need help in the field."

The training was made possible thanks to a number of agencies, including the Oquendo Vet Center, a facility for veterinary training that opened in February.

No comments: