Ales for Tails brews up support for advanced K-9 medical training

GEORGETOWN – Danger can often lurk around any corner, anytime, anywhere for the likes of Lokie, Ripper, Fifo, Hardy and other police canines.

Ocean View Police Department Cpl. Justin Hopkins is committed to ensuring he and other K-9 handlers throughout Delaware are sufficiently trained to administer life-saving skills should their canine partner sustain serious injury.

This takes special training which costs money, and Saturday the Ocean View Police Department, Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 16 and 16 Mile Brewery teamed to stage Ales for Tails.

“The purpose of the event is to raise money for what I would consider essential medical training for K-9’s across the state of Delaware,” said Cpl. Hopkins. “The training itself is not band-aids and bandages. It is life-saving techniques on how to save our partners if they are injured in the line of duty.”

Mountaire Farms and Hocker’s BBQ also provided sponsorship support.

Currently, there are 50 K-9 units in the state of Delaware – 20 municipal and 30 state police dogs. Additionally, four more future K-9s were recently purchased by state police.

“I am looking to raise, in total over the course of the next several months $25,000 to train 50 K-9 teams across the state of Delaware,” said Cpl. Hopkins. “Right now, 50 would cover K-9s across the state of Delaware from good old Sussex County to New Castle County as well. This will be a statewide effort.”

The special medical training entails a course for K-9 handlers taught by active military veterans who are med techs, said Cpl. Chris Donaldson, whose K-9 partner is Ripper based out of Troop 3.

Training will go above and beyond basic first aid taught in the police academy. Tactical field training is designed to provide K-9 handlers with first aid and triaging knowledge to treat and possibly stabilize their injured K-9 at the scene before being transported to veterinarian facility.

“They are going to give us a three-day tactical first-aid class,” said Cpl. Donaldson. “Our basic first-aid that we would get when go through the academy is pretty much the same thing you guys would do in your homes; try to bandage it up really quick and get to the hospital. As you guys know, time is of the essence in any kind of medical condition.”

“So, with this training we’re going to be able to save our dogs … and treat our dogs a lot quicker, in losing that 30 minutes to get to vet if an injury does occur,” said Cpl. Donaldson.

As a K-9-unit, Cpl. Hopkins’ partner Hardy has a well-trained nose for drugs. That’s doubly dangerous in today’s opioid epidemic.

“One of the biggest things I think that is really in the media now is the heroin/fentanyl epidemic, especially with folks like me that have dogs that are drug dogs,” said Cpl. Hopkins. “With a drug detector dog there is a very strong possibility that they could be exposed to one of those chemicals, one of those drugs. So, we want to be able to treat those dogs if they have an exposure and prolong life until we are able to get to a professional for treatment.”

Training will also encompass naloxone, a medication designed to rapidly reverse opioid overdose, but in dosage amount compatible for canines.

“It’s the same drug, but we want to make sure that we have the correct dosage. That is one of the purposes of the class,” said Cpl. Hopkins. “In addition to that there are other injuries as well. You could go down a list of things that could happen. We just want to make sure we are prepared for those things.”

The Ales for Tails fundraiser featured a variety of vendors, music entertainment by First State Force Band and the Brandywine Valley SCPA tent under which there were several adoptable puppies.

Without question, the highlight attraction was a Delaware State Police K-9 demonstration. It drew a huge crowd of spectators.

Featured were Master Cpl. Leonard “Lenny” Aguilar and his K-9 partner Lokie in an obedience demonstration; Cpl. Donaldson and K-9, Ripper; and Cpl. Ken Wilson’s K-9 Fifo, who put a prolonged bite on Cpl. Aguilar in a mock “subdue the bad guy” demonstration.

Cpl. Aguilar’s full-time job with Delaware State Police is training dogs: “I get paid very well to play with dogs all day,” he said.

Cpl. Hopkins said there will be additional fundraisers and anyone wishing to support this cause may donate directly to the Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 16. He also extended thanks to all who were part of Ales for Tails, and of course 16 Mile Brewery, which donated a portion of beer sales to support the K-9 training.

“16 Mile has been gracious enough to allow us to use their facility for the event,” said Cpl. Hopkins. “They are big sponsor for us as well and have helped us out tremendously.”

To donate

For those wishing to donate, checks should be made out to FOP Lodge 16 and mailed to: Ocean View Police Department, 201 Central Avenue, Ocean View, DE 19970.

The check should include “K9 Fundraiser” or something equivalent in a memo, Cpl. Hopkins said.

News Editor Glenn Rolfe can be reached at

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