Police dog Mingo is in even better hands
LONDONDERRY -; During a recent training exercise, K9 Officer John Perry was asked to contemplate the unthinkable -; a situation where his fearless partner, Mingo, was severely injured.
Though the situation was a simulated one, Perry knows accidents and tragedies are a real possibility on any given day. That led him to pay a visit to Crossroads Animal Hospital in Londonderry, which has cared for several generations of Londonderry police dogs.
After chatting with veterinarians Calann and Robin Hertel, Perry said he was intrigued to learn that lifelike dog mannequins are available to teach animal first aid and CPR, though he was discouraged when he found out how much they cost.
“They immediately offered to help,” Perry said. “I told them not to get too carried away.”
This week, the Mingo replica arrived in Londonderry courtesy of Perry and Mingo';s friends at Crossroads Animal Hospital.
Hospital officials didn';t reveal the mannequin';s cost, but similar-appearing products range from several hundred to more than a thousand dollars, depending on size and function.
“We';re always concerned about the health of our patients,” said Wendy Boyko, manager of the local veterinary clinic, “and providing the town with this training mannequin is just one of the ways we could help make sure Mingo remains a healthy dog and is able to perform his duties.”
So far, the German shepherd has been a pretty lucky dog. Perry said his current partner hasn';t had any illnesses or injuries since his “hire” in early 2010.
His predecessor Zip, however, had many brushes with danger.
“He';s had broken teeth, cuts and once suffered a full contortion bloat while on the job,” Perry said. “All the more reason we need to be fully trained in pet CPR.”
The “Mingo” mannequin looks very lifelike but still doesn';t have a name, which Perry said the department is hoping to change very soon. On Tuesday morning, police posted an announcement on their Facebook page asking community members to suggest names for the mannequin.
Meanwhile, police are making sure it is properly dressed for the part.
“He';s got his own harness, a Londonderry Police vest and a St. Christopher medal, just like Mingo has,” Perry said. “Now all he needs is a name.”
Name ideas will be accepted through the end of the month, with the winning name to be announced April 4.
For more information, go to the Londonderry Police Department';s Facebook page or contact Perry at email@example.com.