Oregon veterinarian customizes first-aid kits to protect K9 officers

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Police dogs, just like human officers, are often put into dangerous situations. A Vancouver Police dog lost his life in September and a Portland K9 was killed in the line of duty a year ago. Now, one veterinarian is going above and beyond to make sure police K9s stay safe while on duty.

Veterinarian Dr. Libby Hawkins, November 2015 (KOIN)
Veterinarian Dr. Libby Hawkins, November 2015 (KOIN)

Dr. Libby Hawkins of Gabriel Park Vet Clinic started assembling first aid safety kits for police dogs in Tigard. She now distributes them to police agencies across the state.

“I have a product in there to help control bleeding, we have lap sponges to control bleeding, we have everything they would need in case it’s an injury like a toe nail to a life threatening injury,” Hawkins told KOIN 6 News.

Also in the kit, a drug to help a narcotics dog if it accidentally ingests heroin.

Dr. Hawkins with Beaverton Officer Toby Bastinelli and Kahz, November 2015 (KOIN)
Dr. Hawkins with Beaverton Officer Toby Bastinelli and Kahz, November 2015 (KOIN)

That gives peace of mind to Beaverton Officer Tony Bastinelli, who works with police dog Kahz. Kahz tracks down bad guys and drugs, and Bastinelli says his K9 partner is like family.

“Your’e adding more emotional stuff when you’re dealing with it because he’s your partner. So having some knowledge of what to do helps you in these situations.”

Hawkins really enjoys showing the officers how to use the first aid kits.

“Going through the kits teaching them a little first aid, it just — there’s nothing like it, just a great feeling, highlight of my career.”

Hawkins provides the kits at cost to interested police departments.

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