HOWARD, Wis. (WFRV) – First responders from 13 agencies came together in Howard at NWTC’s Universal Driving Facility Friday, for a lesson in emergency first aid.
“They already know how to do it on humans, and so we’re just teaching them how to do it on animals, particularly focusing on the K9’s,” Lyn Schuh, Operational Director for the K9 Medical Team of Wisconsin said. “We have some K9 handlers here, we have some law enforcement, some EMS, some paramedics.”
Real, living breathing dogs were on hand for the lesson, like 9.5-year-old Harlow, a retired K9 from the Jefferson County Sheriffs Department. “It’s so beneficial for them to learn on a live dog how to place a bandage, how to transport them,” Schuh said.
The star of the show, however, is run by remote control.
“The Bark n’ Blue Foundation of Green Bay donated, it’s called a FX Trauma Dog,” Schuh explained. “They named our dog Valor.”
Valor came with a $60,000 price tag and imitates a real dog in distress. Instructors control his pulse, breathing, and barks, as well as bleeding. They use Valor to practice different scenarios.
Friday afternoon, a group of area first responders treated Valor as if he had been shot.
“We have a lot of training in working with humans, but we don’t have a lot of training working with K9,” James Boland, an EMS Instructor/Coordinator with NWTC said. “In the event that a dog does go down, we want to be able to save them. They are an officer.”
Boland participated in the class and says he found it beneficial. “They do have some anatomy and physiology differences that we’re not familiar with, so for us as EMS providers, this has been a huge, huge benefit,” he said.
In the case of an emergency, Boland hopes it will also prove to be a benefit to K9s. “Where I live in the City of Kewaunee, we do have two K9 dogs,” he said, “and I just want to know I’ll be able to help them if they ever need help.”