The new program provides the same emergency transport for injured K-9s as it does for officers

While K-9s face the same risk as their police officers, they are not treated entirely alike in the healthcare sector. These dogs enter crime scenes, hunt down criminals, and sniff out missing people and weapons. They can and are often seriously injured in this important but dangerous job.

However, if a human officer is seriously injured on duty, he is rushed to an ambulance or helicopter for quick transportation to a hospital. When a police dog suffers similar trauma, his handler puts him in a patrol car to speed through traffic to a veterinarian. With this method, life-saving minutes can pass.

Kristin Uhlin, senior K-9 trainer for the Houston Police Department’s narcotics detail, believes these dogs deserve more.

“We refer to them as our partners. A dog is there to save an officer’s life. When a bullet is fired at an officer, the dog is the one who takes it. They are such amazing creatures and they don’t ask for anything in return for the job they do other than love. “

@ MemorialHermann / Facebook

For this reason, Memorial Hermann Life Flight started a helicopter service especially for police dogs in early December. Thomas Flanagan, Memorial Hermann’s Vice President for Trauma Service Line and Systems Integration, stated:

“We all know how important K-9 are. A K-9 is an essential part of law enforcement – and the challenges law enforcement faces for our personal protection. The K-9 is truly considered a law enforcement officer serving and protecting the public. “

About the K9 course for accident management and transport service

According to the Texas Operational Canine Committee, this new program is the first non-governmental program in the country to treat and transport injured K-9 officers. Flanagan said Life Flight will work similarly for the dogs as it does for humans. The difference is that the ambulance takes the K-9 to a partner veterinarian rather than a hospital. Each of these locations has 24 hour access and a helipad or designated area for Life Flight landing.

@ MemorialHermann / Facebook

Memorial Hermann also offers critical dog grooming training for officers that includes wound wrapping, CPR, poison control, and tourniquet use. K-9 handlers learn what circumstances warrant a call to Life Flight, and at the end of the course, each handler receives a special first aid kit for K-9. We Ride to Provide, an organization that honors fallen police dogs, donated the first aid kits.

Since spring 2019, over 100 K-9 dog handlers and 40 rescue services and fire service personnel have completed the training on the proper treatment of their injured dogs. With an estimated 200 police dogs in the greater Houston area, the Life Flight team will continue to offer three to five training courses each month. This program will save the lives of many working dogs!

A long time in the works

Although new, the idea of ​​a service specifically for K-9 has been on the backbone of Memorial Hermann since Life Flight was founded in 1976. Flanagan stated that the late Dr. James Duke has always wanted Life Flight, the second air ambulance program, to land to expand its services to K-9 officers. Flanagan remarked, “That was his goal and his dream.”

“We have been working on it for some time. When doing an air medicine program, you need to focus on the target and all that goes with the laser. We worked very hard to put this program together. “

@ MemorialHermann / Facebook

Although Sita, the K-9, the She served the department for over 13 years and died before the program started. She prepared flight crews to be the first dog to fly on Life Flight. Uhlin takes comfort in knowing how many other dogs will benefit from the foundations Sita laid.

“It’s nice to know that dogs deserve the respect they deserve to be treated that way.”

What a great way to thank and appreciate our K-9 heroes!

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H / T: Houston Chronicle
Featured image: @ MemorialHermann / Facebook


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