FORT WORTH — Like the police officers they accompany, the dogs of the K-9 unit are always on hazardous duty.Officer Harald Cussnick of the Fort Worth Police K-9 Unit recalled on Wednesday how in 1998, Argo, a German shepherd, was killed in a shootout in east Fort Worth. It happened during a search for a man suspected of wounding a Texas state trooper. The man opened fire and was killed by return fire, but Argo and his handler were wounded. The officer’s protective vest saved him, but Argo died. A few days earlier, another K-9 German shepherd, Canto, died in a patrol car that caught fire at Hulen Mall.On Wednesday MedStar Mobile Health Care, the city’s ambulance service, donated 11 first-aid kits specially equipped for the each of the police department’s dogs.The kits were delivered during a brief ceremony at MedStar’s offices on East Berry Street. Officers showed their appreciation with special certificates. The kits, Cussnick estimated, cost about $300 each.“These dogs are like our children,” he said, motioning to Kelev, an English Labrador. “This is my other son. I don’t want to lose my son.”Also at the event was Max, a Belgian Malinois assigned to Officer Jeri Roberts.Cussnick said officers are trained to give their dogs first aid, and they buy medical supplies for them out of their own pockets. Veterinarians have advised officers to include more items.The kits from MedStar include splints, bandages and tools for starting intravenous lines. There are even disposable razors for removing fur around wounds.The kits were assembled under the supervision of paramedic Macara Trusty, who also serves as MedStar’s clinical education manager.She said MedStar will restock any of the supplies, as needed.“But God forbid that they should ever have to use any of these items,” she said.
Bill Miller, 817-390-7684 Twitter: @Bill_MillerST