Showing posts with label K-9. Show all posts
Showing posts with label K-9. Show all posts

Friday, June 28, 2024

Windham veterinarian creates Tooth Fairy Fund for police K-9s

By Ed Pierce

A vital member of the law enforcement community in Maine will soon be feeling better thanks to the determined efforts of Windham’s Mainely Veterinary Dentistry practice.

Dr. Jennifer Keaten of Mainely Veterinary Dentistry in
Windham, left, meets with South Portland Police 
Department's Patrol Sergeant Shane Stephenson to
discuss treatment for Ziva, a police dog who fractured
a tooth in the line of duty. Costs for the surgery are being
paid for through the Tooth Fairy Fund, created by Keaten.
Ziva, a 7-year-old female Belgian Malinois, is the partner of South Portland Police Patrol Sergeant Shane Stephenson and has been diagnosed with a fractured tooth.

According to Dr. Jennifer Keaten of Mainely Veterinary Dentistry, she contacted local police departments around the state with K-9s on Canine Veterans Day in March to advocate for oral health for working canines. It was then she was informed that Ziva had sustained a fractured tooth while on duty.

Several weeks ago, Keaten and a Mainely Veterinary Dentistry technician met with Ziva and Stephenson for an examination to determine treatment options for Ziva and her availability for dental surgery.

“Ziva uses her mouth for her work. It is not uncommon for working dogs to break a tooth or wear down their teeth in the process of doing their bite work,” Keaten said. “The prognosis will depend on what dental x-rays tell us. Ziva should be able to return to full work and do so more comfortably after her treatment.”

To help police departments around the state in need of treatment afford complex veterinary surgeries, Keaten recently created what she calls the Tooth Fairy Fund.

“The tooth fairy fund was created to help service dogs maintain good oral health to do their jobs as well as to help community dogs that are experiencing severe oral pain with owners that cannot afford treatment,” Keaten said. “It is designed to help cover as much of the costs as possible, depending on the need.”

The Tooth Fairy Fund will be derived from donations and from sales of pet toys and oral health care products at Mainely Veterinary Dentistry.

Ziva will be the first patient to have the cost paid for through the new fund. All associated costs including surgery and medicines will be covered by the Tooth fairy Fund.

“We will perform a COHAT, a complete oral health assessment and treatment plan on Ziva,” Keaten said. “She will be placed under anesthesia to have dental x-rays taken of all of her teeth and have a full oral exam. Based on the oral exam and x-rays, we will make a treatment plan to improve her oral health. Ziva will have her teeth cleaned above and below the gumline to prevent and treat dental disease. The fractured tooth will either be bonded, or we will perform a root canal depending on the severity of the fracture.”

She said she will not know specifically what the treatment will be until Ziva is under anesthesia and dental x-rays taken, so they will have to be prepared for different treatments depending on what is found during the surgical procedure, which will be scheduled in the next few weeks.

“Ziva should be able to return to duty the next day,” Keaten said. “We are trying to advocate for regular preventive dentistry for dogs to prevent dental disease. This is especially important for these working dogs since we rely on them to use their mouths in the work. If we wait until they are in pain or cannot do their job it is often too late to save a tooth. Good oral health is the gateway to overall health for both people and animals. We recommend a full cleaning and assessment of your pet's teeth at least annually.”

Stephenson said Keaten’s offer to treat Ziva for free through the Tooth Fairy Fund will allow Ziva to best serve the South Portland Police Department while also vital to the police dog’s health.

Under a technicality in Maine state law, funding for K-9 medical expenses cannot be included in police department budgeting.

If you would like to make a tax deductible donation to the Tooth Fairy Fund visit or simply go to and click on the link on the homepage. <

Friday, August 27, 2021

Girl Scouts donate protective K-9 vest to Windham Police

Members of Windham Girl Scout Troop 1518
used money earned from, cookie sales to
purchase a protective vest for Kora, a working
K-9 in the Windham Police Department. They
presented the vest to Kora and her handler,
Windham Officer Steven Stubbs, on Aug. 18.
By Collette Hayes

The nine Girl Scouts in Windham Troop 1518 used their ingenuity and shine to sell over 2,500 boxes of girl scout cookies this year and they donated a large portion of the money they received from the sales to buy a protective vest for Kora, a working K-9 in the Windham Police Department.

Participating in the Girl Scout Cookie Program since they were 6-years- old, troop members have developed important life skills such as people skills, goal setting, and money management. According to troop member Kia Coombes, this year the troop decided to set a goal to buy a protective vest for Windham’s police dog and that vest cost $960.

The girls more than met their financial goal through the cookie sale and were able to buy and donate the vest.

“It feels so good doing something for the community,” Girl Scout Madison Nugent said. “Every year we make a donation to the community from our cookie sales. We have donated to the animal shelter, the community garden, the MSSPA Horse Rescue and made Christmas ornaments for the nursing homes. This year we wanted to make sure the Windham police department dog is safe.”

Kora, a five-year-old Malinois, is the recipient of the protective K-9 vest.

On Aug. 18, Windham Police Officer Steven Stubbs along with Kora, visited with Troop 1518 members on the lawn of the Friends Meeting House across the street from the Windham Police station.

“First of all, I would like to thank all of you very much for your generosity in making sure Kora is safe,” he said. “When I’m on a high-risk call, she is usually the first to go into the situation. When I send her in, it means a lot to me knowing she is protected.”

Stubbs has been training Kora since she was 6-months-old.

“Initial K-9 certification takes 480 hours of patrol training in order to qualify to take the test.” Stubbs said. “We have to certify every year for patrol and drugs. Kora can jump over 6-foot walls, find evidence articles and track and protect humans. She works extremely hard and receives little pay for doing it.”

He said Kora has a superior sense of smell and is a great detector.

“She can find a whole slew of illegal drugs,” Stubbs said. “On one of our fun training days we teamed up with the Falmouth K-9 dog team and simulated a drug deal with the Coast Guard. We went out on the Falmouth officer’s boat to where the Coast Guard boat was docked. Drugs had been hidden on the Coast Guard boat for the dogs to locate. This was great training for the dogs. If it becomes necessary for Kora to travel to a shipyard or a wharf full of boats, she won’t be distracted. She knows exactly what she needs to do.”
According to Stubbs. a fully trained police dog is worth probably between $18,000 to $20,000 but in their line of work, they are invaluable.

“They protect us in all different kinds of situations. You really can’t put a price on them,” Stubbs said. “We ask these dogs to do so much. The least we can do for them is to protect them with a vest.”

The new vest is stab resistant, cut resistant and bullet proof.

“There is a door popper on my police car door. If I encounter a confrontation with another individual all I have to do is press a button which I have in my pocket, and it pops the car door open. and Kora immediately jumps out of the car and runs to my side to assess the situation,” he said. “She is amazing at reading body language. She can deescalate a negative situation so quickly just by being present. Individuals are more willing to comply with what we want them to do when she shows up.”

Each day Kora can be found traveling along in the back seat of Officer Stubbs’ police car in her new protective vest.

“When I answer an incoming call over the radio, Kora knows it is time to go to work. She begins barking incessantly, jumping around and pacing across the backseat with almost uncontrollable excitement.” Stubbs said.

Her excitement about going to work each day is something most of us would have a hard time relating to. In so many ways it is evident she is a rare breed and deserves to be protected with a K-9 vest, thanks to a generous donation from Girl Scout Troop 1518. <