Nonprofit donates first-aid kits to Sheriff’s Office to keep K-9 officers healthy 

Police officers from St. Charles, St. John the Baptist and St. Bernard parishes were split into groups last Thursday, working with some canine friends – and learning techniques that could lead to saving a life.

They were working with special canine-specific first aid kits donated by the nonprofit Anna 4 Paws, which was established in 2019 to assist in keeping canine officers safe in the event of an injury on the job. Organization founder Det. Adrian Thompson and veterinarian Dr. Margaret Trumble were on hand to deliver the kits and teach the officers on hand from all three police forces how to utilize the kits and best keep their animal sidekicks safe when injured. 

The St. Charles Sheriff’s Office hosted the training event.

Thompson created and named Anna 4 Paws in honor of his first canine partner, Anna, who suffered an injury on the job in 2015. 

“I had nothing to take care of her,” Thompson said. “I realized that we have to do better.”

Thompson noted that across the country, canine officers are deployed in missions thousands of times a year. 

“Most often, they come back healthy. When they don’t, we need to be able to take care of them in that moment,” Thompson said. “Most agencies, while budgeting the 20K to acquire a police canine that’s been shot, don’t always have the money to budget for canine first aid equipment. We’re trying to fill that void.”

Anna 4 Paws is completely donation driven and the kits donated to the agencies free of charge. The group works with personal and corporate donors to address the need for canine handlers. 

Thompson said this was the first time his team had worked with the agencies represented at the Sheriff’s Office last week, and that now Anna 4 Paws has been able to assist nearly every canine unit in the New Orleans metro area. 

“We’re going to Birmingham over the summer … we’re going wherever the donations steer us,” Thompson said. 

Trumble noted that the kits and the day’s training were geared to preparing officers to stabilize an injured animal from the point of injury to finding veterinary care. 

“It’s not about how to treat them, but how to stabilize,” said Trumble, who has worked with Anna 4 Paws from its outset. “You have, sometimes, a 25 to 30 minute drive before finding that veterinarian at 2 a.m. But there’s a lot these officers can do if they have the equipment and information they need, to help better the odds of a positive outcome in the event of an injury.”

Part of that is teaching officers to recognize what is normal and abnormal for their specific animal. 

“Basic anatomy, vital signs … knowing what is different about their canine from the average 6-year-old lab or golden retriever someone has as a pet … understanding your animal through and through to know if something is abnormal,” she said. 

There was hands on work done at the training session, including bandaging, learning vital signs and how to do a full physical examination. 

Anna 4 Paws is also partnered with veterinarians local to each agency who have agreed to sponsor the first-aid kits long term: if anything in the kit is used or expires, the canine handler can go to a local sponsoring vet and have the item replaced at no cost. 

For more information or for anyone who would like to donate to the cause, visit anna4paws.org

 

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