K-9 handlers across the state attend emergency medical training seminar

Published: Jan. 12, 2023 at 6:21 PM EST
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GAINESVILLE, Fla. (WCJB) -More than 30 K-9 handlers and EMS professionals attended a medical training seminar hosted by “K-9 united” to learn medical emergency techniques to help their partners on the front line.

“K-9 united” founder Debbie Johnson has no ties with law enforcement but she said the death of a K-9 from her community inspired her to start this organization.

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“I saw his death on the news and it just captured my heart, you know like how does something like that happen in my own community,” said Johnson. “It’s a hard job, you know sometimes they get injured, sometimes they get stabbed, sometimes they get shot. We want to be able to provide that critical training on hand as far as if something were to happen out in the field.”

K-9 officers learned and practiced medical techniques on a simulated police k-9 called K-9 diesel to increase their chance of survival. It’s a robot that barks, breathes, whimpers and bleeds. It’s meant to give students feedback and the opportunity to practice without including their partners.

“It gives the students good feedback on what works, and what doesn’t work. And it doesn’t subject their dogs to unnecessary pain during training,” said lead instructor Matthew Casey.

Casey is a former law enforcement officer and owner of Triad Medical Training. He said while this seminar was specifically created for k-9 units, this program can help those outside of law enforcement as well.

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“A lot of this stuff pertains to regular dogs or domesticated house dogs,” said Casey. “One day I asked one of our handlers who take care of your dog if your dog gets hit and he said you and I had zero medical training on dogs. So I had a duty to educate myself on that and I went down that rabbit hole of learning k-9 medicine.”

Although the seminar was not mandatory, it was encouraged for handlers to attend. The organizers said they will host other seminars in the state for other K-9 units.

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