Burlington, CPR, K-9, First Aid, officers, deputy, pets

How stuffed animals are helping K-9 handlers better protect their partners

BURLINGTON, Iowa -- With the use of stuffed animals, K-9 handlers around Iowa got a course in helping keep their furry partners safe.

Officers gathered for the course at the Burlington Police Department on Tuesday, January 8.

“When I first got (my K-9) she did get a laceration on her forehead from going underneath a car,” said Officer Ryan Smith.

Having a K-9 as a partner can be tricky.

“I love animals” said Deputy Kary Borders. "I’ve always had dogs; actually when I became an officer that was one of my goals was to be a K-9 officer."

Deputy Borders started as a K-9 officer with the Louisa County Sheriff's Office back in September with her new partner, Karma.

“There's going to be a lot of times where she is trudging through river ground, timber where you get stuff in the paws," she said. "I mean obviously being a canine officer there's always the potential of being stabbed or shot."

Now, Deputy Borders is learning how to better protect herself and her dog in a crisis.  The group learned with stuffed animals how to control, muzzle and even perform CPR.

“They can run into anything," Officer Ryan Smith said. "Officers get injured all the time. Dogs can get injured as well and she's a big asset to the department and we've got to keep her on the streets."

Officer Smith has worked with his dog Aston, for nearly two years.

“I have to take care of her and she's also the property of the city. She's my job and I want to feel very confident taking care of her," he said.

By the end of the course, all the handlers were focused and ready to take on any problem they come across with their K-9 partners.

“Knowing that she's got my back no matter what, knowing that I can help protect her in our county we are at least an hour from any veterinarian hospital so being able to stop any bleeding, massive trauma that type to her you know hopefully I can do that and keep her alive," said Deputy Borders.

The class was free for K-9 handlers. Everyone left certified in animal first aid and CPR and the confidence to be a better partner for their four-legged friend.

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