Volunteers purchase equipment for former shelter dog

Published 5:09 pm Tuesday, August 18, 2020

Isle of Wight Animal Services volunteers recently came together and purchased a Buddy Bag and Cool Vest for K9 Fuse, who along with her handler Officer Charles Banks III, are members of the Ferris Texas Police Department.

The Buddy Bag contains equipment that can be used to provide life-sustaining treatment to an injured K9 while en route to a veterinarian. Some of the items included are bandages, splints, a blood-clotting agent, a canine oxygen mask, and Narcan. K9 Defender Fund provides this equipment to police departments across the country as donated funds become available.

K9 Fuse began her journey as Coco, a well-loved favorite of many of the IOW Animal Services volunteers. Jonette Butler spent a significant amount of time socializing her to humans, but even so, this friendly red pit bull mix kept getting passed over by potential adopters. Her break came when the volunteers who worked with Coco recognized that she had a strong scent drive, which was confirmed by members of the IOW County Sheriff’s Department K-9 team.

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A local animal rescue put volunteers Chris and Tonya Lovelette in contact with Sector K9, a canine detection training program in Midlothian, Texas. Along with their partner, Animal Farm Foundation, Sector K9 pulls pit bulls with strong detection skills from shelters all across the nation and trains them for detection work. Once the dog completes the course, it is then donated to a police department somewhere in the United States. Based on the information they provided, Sector K9 thought Coco was a prime candidate for detection training and asked them for a video of her performing some very specific tasks.

The Lovelettes devoted a significant amount of time with Coco and worked with her to produce the video that demonstrated that indeed Coco had the talent and drive for detection work. After viewing the video, Sector K-9 agreed to accept Coco into its program. Animal Services volunteers paid for Coco’s plane fare and, escorted by volunteer Keri Noggle, Coco flew that very weekend for her training and subsequent donation to the Ferris Texas Police Department.

With her new life comes a new name, K9 Fuse. She is not the same dog she was in the rural shelter in Windsor. Kennel life is behind her. With the help of the dedicated and compassionate staff and volunteers at the Isle of Wight Animal Services, she now has a purpose — one that allows her to get drugs out of the community while simultaneously bridging the gap between dog and human.