Wednesday, July 27, 2016

CVM, Nestlé Purina, and MSU Police Department Join Forces

For years, Nestlé Purina and MSU-CVM have partnered to improve the lives of people and pets. Mississippi State University’s K-9 unit is proud to partner with and benefit from Nestle’ Purina’s support. Purina ensures health and success for MSU’s K-9 unit by supplying food and funding to help fuel the work days of service dogs.

The K-9 officers offer unique skills that expand the capabilities of traditional officers. Named “Bessi,” “Miguel,” and “Bach,” the dogs can conduct searches, track people or items, and detect bombs. They aid the department in regular sweeps of campus athletic facilities and other locations as needed. Having the K-9 unit allows the department to utilize their tracking and searching capabilities at any given time and offers increased levels of safety on campus. They also do demonstrations and visit local schools and nearby jurisdictions. Previously, MSU made use of dogs affiliated with the Mississippi Highway Patrol or other law enforcement agencies.

MSU Chief of Police, Chief Vance Rice, who oversees the K-9 unit says, "Because of the support that the MSU- Police Department receives from Nestlé Purina, we have been able to increase our K-9 unit from two to three.  The food provided to our K-9 unit gives them the strength they need to make it through rigorous work days.” 

"These dogs have a second thing that they are trained to do, and that's handler protection," Rice said. While the dogs are selected, in part, for their friendly nature, Rice said they are trained to become aggressive on command and are prepared to protect police officers if needed.” Corporal Patrick Jenkins, Corporal Nic Coe, and Officer Josh Ellis are assigned specialized police vehicles designed with the dogs' safety, comfort, and practicality in mind.

Corporal Jenkins said while they have scheduled weekly training sessions, they practice daily to perfect obedience and commands. When it's time to go home after a shift, the dogs go home with their handlers, who in addition to treating them as a policing partner, treat them as pets.

MSU-CVM students have also started the Vets for Vets program. Many former service dogs with degenerative joint tissue can benefit from regular physical therapy but the cost is fairly expensive. With private support to the program, MSU-CVM offers treatment and rehabilitation to dogs who have bravely served as part of our military or police force.

Dogs enrolled in the program are evaluated and then they begin the rehabilitation regimen. CVM students observe the process as part of their academic training and some help with the treatments, including laser therapy and work with the aquatic treadmill, and endless pool.

Vets for Vets operates completely by the support of donations. If you would like to make a gift to fund rehabilitation packages for military and police dogs, contact the CVM development team at 662-325-5893 or 662-325-5170.