K9 handlers come together for presentation

Wauwatosa police officer Timothy Kastner has had the same partner for seven years. The two are close. Fact is when Kastner’s partner retires; he will spend his golden years living with Kastner.

The partner’s name is Addy and he is a drug and patrol dog. The lean, tan Malinois is hard-working, protective, watchful, athletic, alert and friendly.

“He is so enthusiastic about doing his job, sometimes he won’t protect himself,” said Kastner as his partner was being examined by veterinarian Dr. Andrew Linklater at Lakeshore Veterinary Specialists Wednesday evening.

Addy recently jumped out of the patrol car he shares with Kastner and overextended his metacarpus (essentially his wrist).

That’s why Kastner and Addy were on hand Wednesday evening for a special presentation at Lakeshore Veterinary Specialists entitled “Supporting Your Canine Partner” for K9 officers and their handlers.

“What we’re focusing on tonight is the athletic dog,” said Dr. Linklater. “Just like any other athlete there needs to be a lot of training involved. There might be stretching before and after an activity to make sure there aren’t any muscle or joint injuries, that sort of thing.”

Kastner wasn’t alone in wanting to learn as much as he could about the care of his canine partner. Dozens of like-minded K9 handlers from departments across Southeast Wisconsin came for a buffet dinner and presentation by Dr. Kristin Luginbill who specializes in conditioning, injury prevention, pain management and rehabilitation.

With the exception of Addy, most of the police dogs waited in the cars outside. Their handlers, though, gave their undivided attention to Dr. Luginbill as she explained the finer points of canine acupuncture, rehabilitation and preparation.

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