Handler Sgt. Shane Partain came to the rescue of K-9 Orion on Aug. 19, according to the "We Ride to Provide" Facebook Page.
"We are pleased to report that K9 Orion is home and will recover!!! However, tonight, while at home, OCSO's K9 Orion suffered a near fatal snake bite! His handler grabbed his WRTP K9 First Aid kit from his vehicle and forced 4 Benadryl tablets down him immediately after noticing a change in his breathing and headed out 10-18 to his vet's office! K9 Orion's vet has confirmed that the quick actions of K9 Orion's Handler, S. Partain, absolutely saved his life!"
Community members have flooded the page with well wishes for Orion and praise for Sgt. Partain.
In an interview with Oconee Patch, Partain explained in more detail what happened that evening.
He'd been cleaning Orion's kennel, something he's routinely done since November 2009. Orion was running in the yard.
Within a matter of minutes, Partain’s wife noticed something odd: Orion was limping on his front right leg.
Having been through numerous canine emergency care trainings, Partain knew to check Orion’s gums, which he found to be discolored. The dog’s mouth was also swollen, so Partain ran to get a first aid kit.
“I thought, ‘there’s got to be something in this kit I can use,' and luckily there was some Benedryl.”
Partain managed to push the pills down Orion’s throat, then he called Dr. Monica Kucher of Good Hands Veterinary Hospital and loaded the 6-year-old Belgian Malinois into his truck.
On the way to the vet, Partain noticed Orion’s breathing had slowed to one or two breaths per minute and he was motionless. About 20 minutes had passed since Orion had been bitten.
“I was trying to prepare myself in case I was
going to have to start breathing for him,” he recalled. But, fortunately, that wasn't necessary. They made it in time for Orion to be given medications intravenously that helped him breath.
Fifteen minutes later, Orion was breathing
more comfortably. Dr. Kucher found fang marks on his arm that
indicated a large, venomous snake had been the culprit, but no one saw it, Partain said.
Had it not been for the Benedryl, Partain was told, Orion would’ve likely died.
By Wednesday the bandage had been removed and Orion was walking better and appeared to be getting back to normal.
“I owe everything to 'We Ride to Provide,'” Partain said.
The organization collects donations to provide valuable equipment - like the special medical kits designed to treat K-9s - to law enforcement agencies around the state. The kit had been given to Orion only four months ago.
Partain also expressed gratitude for Dr.
Kucher, calling her work "amazing.”
When the medical kit was first delivered, she went through it piece by piece and explained how to use everything. She also added items to it, he said. And after Orion’s recent scare, the kit now contains an injectable Benedryl.