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Middletown Transcript
  • Students give back to local K-9

  •     A recent incident involving a New Castle County police dog has proved K-9 officers put their lives on the line every day just like their human partners.


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  •     A recent incident involving a New Castle County police dog has proved K-9 officers put their lives on the line every day just like their human partners.
        As police K-9 Diablo is recovering from gunshot wounds he received while in the line of duty two weeks ago, two students at Middletown High School are working locally to help keep K-9s safe.
        For their senior project, Shelby Guhl and Anna Richman want to raise funds to buy a ballistic/stab proof vest for the Middletown Police Department’s only K-9 officer, Nitro.
        While the two began organizing their project three months ago, K-9 Diablo’s injuries confirmed to the students why they chose to help the police department.
        “It made everything we’re doing a little more real,” said Shelby. “People realized the dog is an active member of the police department.”
        To raise the funds, Shelby and Anna are organizing a 5k run/walk to be held Saturday, Dec. 5.    The $25 registration fee will all go toward the vest, which costs approximately $1,000.
        Anna said the vest can have real life-saving effects for the police dog that wears it.
        “It’s woven with titanium, making it puncture resistant and bullet proof,” she said.
        This is not the first time Shelby and Anna have done this project. When they were in seventh grade they collected donations and raised money completely on their own to buy vests for the Delaware State Police and New Castle County Police dogs.
        “We thought this would be a perfect thing to do again, since the police station is so new,” said Shelby. “We think it’s important for people to know about the dogs. Maybe it’s farfetched, but Nitro might help you out one day.”
        Middletown Police Officer Mark Miller, Nitro’s handler, said the incident with Diablo hit home for him because Nitro and Diablo were in the same training classes and graduated from K-9 academy together.
        “We all realize it can happen to any one of us, whether it’s with our dog or without. It hurts a bit more when it’s somebody you know and spend a significant amount of time with, as well as his dog,” he said. “I was there when they picked Diablo up, went through training and then saw him go from dog to a really awesome patrol dog.”
        Miller said 3-year-old Nitro is faced with dangerous situations all the time, and this vest would certainly be beneficial. 
        “You’re asking an animal to go after a human being, something that’s not in it’s normal food chain, and tell it go do it’s job with no vest and no gun,” he said. “He can’t shoot back. It touches my heart that people in the community want to give back to us and give us a little something.”
    Page 2 of 2 -     Miller said the run/walk is a good way to give back to the community and have fun with their dogs.
        “While Nitro is assigned to me, he belongs to the Town of Middletown and the police department,” he said. “I’m just his foster dad. We have that special bond, but I want people to understand that this is their K-9 unit and their police department.”
        Miller and Nitro will be on site at the event, taking part in the 5K and possibly performing demonstrations.
        The event will begin at American K-9 Doggie Day Care & Training Center, 128 Patriot Drive, Middletown, and will continue through Levels Dog Park. Shelby and Anna are looking for sponsors for the event. For more information, call 302-530-1355 or 302-593-1977.
    IF YOU GO
    WHAT 5K Run/Walk to help support the purchase of a bullet proof vest for Middletown Police Department’s K-9 Unit.
    WHEN Saturday, Dec. 5. Registration begins at 9 a.m., and the Run/Walk begins at 10 a.m.
    WHERE American K-9 Doggie Day Care & Training Center, 128 Patriot Drive, Units 11 and 12, Middletown.
    COST of registration is $25. Registration forms can be filled out at www.ak9training.com or at the event.
    FOR MORE INFORMATION call Shelby at 302-530-1355 or Anna at 302-593-1977.
     
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