Police learn how to keep K9s safe out in the field

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NEWTOWN -

Police K9 handlers from all over the state came to the Newtown Volunteer Ambulance Headquarters Tuesday to learn how to keep their dogs safe out in the field.

Officers first learned about emergency canine symptoms and treatments in classroom sessions throughout the morning. Then they applied those lessons with stuffed dummy dogs, applying wraps, bandages and air masks.

The K9 officers themselves came out of their cars later on in the afternoon for hands-on experience, as their handlers practiced lifting the dogs into an animal stretcher.

The goal of the program is to train the officers in how to deal with trauma situations their dogs might face out in the field.

"We do first aid training with regards to officers' safety and civilians and stuff like that, but we don't pay much attention to the canine world," says Officer Felicia Figol.

Officers say it's hard work, but that their partners deserve it.

"I mean, these guys put a lot of time and effort into training," says Figol. "These dogs have well over 800 hours of basic training in them and I think they deserve a lot because they're here for the community and they're here for people's safety, so they work a lot. And all they ask for is a ball, a treat and that's it."

Figol says she hopes she never has to use what she learned today, but if she does, she's confident her partner Eris will be in good hands.

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