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Deputies with the Chambers County Sheriff’s Department and K9 handlers gave a Certificate of Appreciation to Riverside Veterinary Hospital, which has been in operate for more than 40 years in Lanett. --Dustin Duncan

Sheriff’s office thanks local veterinary hospital

LANETT — For more than 25 years, Charles Harris at Riverside Veterinary Hospital in Lanett has been providing medical care to police dogs with the Chambers County Sheriff’s Office.

On Wednesday, the sheriff’s office decided to give back publicly.

Chambers County Sheriff’s Office Major T.J. Wood presented Dr. Harris and Riverside Associate Veterinarian Shani McCrillis a Certificate of Appreciation.

“We have had nine K9s that have passed through the hands of these vets,” Wood said. “All the way from surgery, chemotherapy and taking care of all of their needs.”

Harris said it means a lot to receive this recognition from the sheriff’s office.

“I have been here for 40 plus years, so we’ve worked hard to build a good image to serve the community and take care of pets’ needs,” he said.

“We are not only taking care of pets, but also the community.”

Chambers County Sheriff Sid Lockhart said he can’t express the words about how well Riverside takes care of the county’s animals.

“They treat them like family, and they are great people,” he said.

Wood said the K9s have regular visits with the vet, but there are also times they needed to be rushed to the doctor’s office like any other officer.

“If anything comes up with them, they are just like our kids, we bring them in and get them checked on,” he said.

“We treat them just like they are our own.”

Wood said the bond between handler and dogs is strong.

“A lot of people don’t realize how close a handler and their K9 becomes,” he said. “Our dogs are at work with us, and they are at home with us. When we leave our families, they go with us.”

Throughout the past few years, Riverside Veterinary hasn’t just treated the dogs, the office has also provided the sheriff’s office with first aid kits for the dogs to keep in the officer’s vehicle.

“If something were to happen, we have the basic equipment to help with trauma,” Wood said. “We can’t do surgery, but we can definitely do what we need to do to get them (to the vet’s office) and get them in (the vet’s) hands.”

McCrillis said the first aid kit has simple bandages to try to stop any bleeding that may occur during an incident with the dog, so the officer can safely get them to their office.