Sgt. Kevin Hite, a former K9 handler who now supervises the KPD K9 Unit, looks through one of the emergency kits. Photo by Rain Smith.
KINGSPORT — The second-oldest K9 unit in Tennessee honored a local veterinarian on Wednesday, as her recent fundraising efforts have allowed the Kingsport Police Department to purchase first aid trauma kits for their four-legged officers.
The pre-assembled kits contain tools and supplies for the treatment of lacerations and burns, cold packs, hot packs and other materials for addressing a dog’s injury in the field.
“We carry a lot of equipment and hope we never have to use it,” said KPD Chief David Quillin during a Wednesday afternoon press conference. “These kits are the same. We hope the officer will never have to use one of these in the field — but if they do, it can be the difference between life and death.”
The kits cost approximately $900. Dr. Jody Thomas, owner/operator of Companion Animal Hospital in Colonial Heights, raised the money during her “Fluffapalooza” event in October.
She described the fundraiser as a fall festival with distinct animal flavor. Besides traditional face painting, food and children’s activities, Fluffapalooza also featured contests for best dog tricks and pet costumes.
She plans to hold the event again next year, once more passing along the proceeds to the KPD K9 unit.
“The bond between the K9 and human officer is incredible,” said Thomas. “They put themselves out there every day and we wanted to recognize them.”
KPD’s K9 unit was formed in 1969. It’s currently comprised of four handler/K9 teams, with all dogs certified to conduct patrol work. Three of the four are trained in narcotics detection, while one is an explosives-sniffing specialist.