K-9 airlift was justified

If for no other reason than the cost to replace the dog, flight medics made the right call in rushing the injured K-9 to the vet

Editor's note: Chief Adam K. Thiel examines the practical reasoning for using a medical helicopter to airlift a badly wounded K-9 unit to a veterinarian hospital. 

I don't think I've ever read about an injured K-9 being medevac'd before. I've seen entrapped horses and other animals rescued via helicopter. But I've never heard of an actual transport from the incident scene to an animal hospital.

Now I should say at the outset that I'm probably not someone you would describe as an animal lover. Besides allergies, I don't have any problems with animals (and my kids love them) per se. But I'm not a pet owner and have never really had the kind of attachment that many folks have with their pets.

That said, my experiences with service dogs of various types causes me to think that they should be accorded a high degree of respect and care, perhaps beyond what might typically be considered for animals.

I'm also sensitive to the fact that the dog is half of a very close working team that includes a human handler who will most certainly be affected by the "partner's" injury or death. Although I know that, given the choice, some pet owners would gladly pay whatever the cost, if available, for medical transport and care.

Beyond the ethical reasons to provide care for injured "team members" of the canine variety, there's the simple fact that K-9s are generally a rare asset, and one that comes at a relatively high price. From talking to people in law enforcement, it's my understanding that it can cost up to $100,000 just to train a service dog, with a substantial follow-on investment over time.

So from a strictly economic perspective, and as coldly rational as that sounds, it makes sense to protect that investment, even it means a rather hairy helicopter ride.

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