FRANKLIN COUNTY, Pa. (WHTM) — A Franklin County nonprofit is supporting K9 officers in the Midstate and beyond, making sure they have what they need in case the dogs are injured in the field.
Protection4Paws launched their K9 medical kits in September, taking over from another nonprofit who could not put the kits together anymore. The organization has already sent out 19 kits and more are on their way.
That is why Tina Richardson spends her evenings and weekends packing up medical supplies for K9 officers.
“So then the very first thing that we would do would be the left pocket, and then that’s going to be an ace bandage,” she said, listing off what goes in the kits. “They’ll get a first aid burn cream. They get lubricating jelly.”
Richardson is the founder of Protection4Paws, which raises money to buy equipment for K9 officers. The medical kits are the latest project.
“They supply the K9 officer with anything and everything that they would possibly need while the canine’s in the field, whether it be just a simple cut or possibly a gunshot wound,” she said.
Richardson took over the project from a recently dissolved nonprofit. She wanted to keep it going because she said immediate care is critical for K9s injured on the job.
“Your canine officer is another officer of the law,” she said. “It’s very, very important to make sure that the officers have everything that they need to stabilize those canines until medical care can get there.”
That is why Richardson stocks the kits with over 50 different supplies, from a collapsible water bottle to a muzzle to Narcan. She said she can donate five kits a month for free and relies on donations for the rest.
“The kits themselves are $400,” she said.
It is not just about supplies. Each kit comes with an information packet with information about Protection4Paws as well as instructions and tips for how to handle various kinds of injuries. The kit also comes with a strong recommendation to go over everything with a vet.
“Doesn’t do them any good to have $400 worth of medical equipment if they’re not going to learn how to use the information, you know, the packages that are in it,” Richardson said.
Richardson added the best way people can help is donate and sponsor a medical kit. Because Protection4Paws is quite small, she said the more sponsors they have, the more K9s can get medical kits. To donate, visit the Protection4Paws website.