By Joan Allen
People helping animals helping people.
“Porter has helped find and arrest numerous criminals, save lives and bring closure to families of missing and deceased people and with the hard work, dedication and commitment of all those involved, he will return to service soon enough to continue making a difference every day.
Trooper First Class Matt Warren and K9 Trooper Porter, a 77-pound black German shepherd, have been partners since January of 2014. Trooper Warren explains, “I not only have a working partner while I am on duty with Porter, but also a best friend to go home with. Porter and I have spent countless hours together on missions and calls for service in both the day and night through all types of terrain and environments and he never quits on me. Porter never says no to any challenge or task I put before him. Porter and Matt have tracked many wanted persons as well as missing persons. A lot of the wanted tracks they have conducted have been for fleeing suspects from crimes related to domestic violence and assaults. “One of the tracks I can remember was on December 16, 2015 about 3:20 a.m. We were dispatched to the town of Deep River, CT, for a report of a domestic violence dispute. While en route, I was informed that a male subject was currently banging on the door of a residence and demanding to gain access as he had come back to the residence in an effort to cause injury to another person living there. He had escaped so we continued to track him through the center of town until Porter suddenly turned into a business area. Porter continued down a narrow alley through the business area and began to circle a large tree. I then spotted the male suspect within the tree attempting to hide, and I placed the male suspect into custody with Porter by my sided protecting me. The male was subsequently charged with multiple domestic violence offenses.” So when Porter recently fell 25 feet from a cliff while on a search and rescue mission to locate an intoxicated and suicidal woman during the night, Matt wanted to get his partner the best medical care for his badly injured forearm. Porter was rushed to a veterinary clinic and x-rays showed he had no broken bones. His forelimb was placed in a splint and six weeks later he received an MRI. Throughout this time, Porter couldn’t walk properly on his forelimb. “I was fortunate enough to be referred to Project GO and Veterinary Orthopedic & Sports Medicine Group (VOSM) through Dr. Debbie Gross of Wizard of Paws Physical Rehabilitation for Animals in Colchester, CT,” says Matt. “After over four months of searching for proper care and treatment for Porter’s injuries at multiple veterinary facilities, Porter and I contacted the wonderful team of people at VOSM and within a week’s time, I was able to transport Porter to VOSM in Annapolis, MD, where we received the proper care, treatment, and love that Porter so desperately needed.” Dr. Sherman O. Canapp, Jr., Chief of Staff and Co-Principle, VOSM Group, and Founder and CEO of Project Go, says Project Go’s mission is to provide funding for injured working animals. “We will be an organization that strives to secure medical care to return these animals to their working roles– people helping animals helping people.” Fortunately, Project GO was able to help injured search and rescue K-9 Porter.
Dr. Debra Canapp giving Porter an ultrasound.
“Although he received treatment at the local level, he did not show improvements, and his retirement became eminent,” says Dr. Canapp.
“Porter’s rehabilitation therapist contacted Project GO for financial assistance, and his evaluation with my team at VOSM was arranged quickly. Porter’s injuries were found to be mid-grade strains, and regenerative medicine with stem cells and platelet rich plasma was recommended for treatment. The regenerative medicine treatment has helped Porter’s injuries heal, and he continues to do well with his brace and rehabilitation therapy.” Dr. Canapp says for the past ten years with Veterinary Orthopedic & Sports Medicine Group, he has had the pleasure of providing care for thousands of injured animals. “It is humbling to see the growth of specialty veterinary medicine over this time and our clients’ overwhelming desire to seek out specialty care for their pets’ injuries. Over that same ten years, I have also seen countless injured animals, such as working dogs, shelter animals, and animals from rescue organizations, be denied specialty care in orthopedics and neurology for their injuries based on the limited financial resources of such organizations. “Last year,” says Canapp, I made the decision that it was time to find a way to provide a source of funding for working dog groups, shelters, rescues, search and rescue groups, and animal sanctuaries that need financial assistance in providing the best care for injured animals. “The short-term goals of Project GO include providing funding for the treatment of orthopedic and neurologic injuries found in working dogs, shelter and rescue animals, and animal sanctuaries with limited funding. It is our goal over the next 18 months that Project GO will be able to provide financial assistance for the care of 40 injured animals.” “Long-term goals of Project GO include providing education and training for veterinary healthcare professionals in developing countries, creating a network of global partnerships and alliances for the care of injured animals, connecting human and veterinary health breakthroughs through translational medicine, and to provide funding for the cultivation of lifesaving breakthroughs in veterinary medicine.” Dr. Canapp says, “Our overall vision is to have a just world where all injured animals have access to care for a better future.” Project Go was able to come along at the exact moment that the VOSM Academy Certification Program also became a reality. VOSM Academy is working hard to provide training and education in the areas of arthroscopy, sports medicine, regenerative medicine, and diagnostic ultrasound for fellow veterinarians across the country, and around the world. Each VOSMA certified practice or practitioner will have the skills and equipment needed to help injured animals through the funding provided by Project GO. The VOSMA network of members currently spans the United States, and will expand to Finland, Australia, Germany, and Japan. Having this network of providers available is helpful for Project GO in ensuring that the care provided to injured animals through its funding meets an exceptional standard of care. Project GO is also fortunate to partner with many human physicians to provide collaborative thinking and other knowledge about injuries, best practices, and new ideas. Our friends in the human medical field continue to be a truly invaluable resource, and even hold board member positions with Project GO. Thanks to Dr. Canapp and his staff, Porter truly has a better future. “Without the love, care, support, expertise and intelligence of all involved, my partner, best friend and family member, K9 Trooper Porter, could possibly have lost his leg and been retired from the K9 Patrol and Search and Rescue capacity that he loves and lives for,” says Matt.
How can people help Project Go expand and grow to help more animals?
There are two main ways that you can make a big difference in helping Project GO to expand. The first way you can help is to spread the word! Please share our mission and stories with all of your friends and family! The second way you can help Project GO is to provide financial support through donations. Project GO is solely reliant on your donations when providing financial assistance for injured animals in need. Your donations ensure funding is available to help working dogs, K-9 units, search and rescue groups, and animal sanctuaries with financial constraints. Without your continued donations and support, financial aid for these animals cannot be provided by Project GO. To help support this important cause, go to project-go.org.