ARAPAHOE COUNTY, Colo. — Some quick thinking and some even quicker medical attention saved the life of a K-9 member of the Arapahoe County Sheriff's Office.
It was April 19, right around 6 a.m. Arapahoe County Sheriff's deputies in Centennial were looking for a suspect wanted on robbery and attempted murder charges.
When they realized the suspect was hiding in a dumpster, they thought the safest and most effective way to get him out would be to send in one of their K-9s, 2-year-old Atlas.
"The deputy (Atlas' partner) was able to lift Atlas up and over the edge of the dumpster and into the dumpster," said Deputy Jeff Myers, a paramedic with the sheriff's office.
Within minutes, deputies arrested the suspect. But Atlas came out of the dumpster with a gaping wound to his paw.
"Atlas in the process was injured and ended up with a severe laceration and ending up lacerating an artery near the pads of his paw," Myers said.
Fearing for the dog's life, and thinking quickly, Atlas' partner, who did not want to be identified because of the nature of some of his law enforcement work, took out a roll of gauze he was carrying and used it as a tourniquet – wrapping it around Atlas' paw to stop the bleeding.
Atlas was then rushed to Alameda East Veterinary Hospital, where doctors performed surgery to close his wound and, likely, saved his life.
Deputy Jeff Myers said as a result of the incident, the department is now giving tourniquets made specifically for dogs to all deputies who partner with canines.
"So, they're already carrying a person tourniquet, now they're carrying something that's a little more specific to a K-9," Myers said.
Deputy Myers said it's the least they can do for their fearless, furry friends, who would do anything for them.
"Atlas is a sworn deputy and he shouldn't be treated any different than any other deputy," Myers said.
Atlas is still recovering from his surgery. He's expected to return to active duty sometime next week.
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