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Hartford Hospital welcomes Axel, a ‘Sim-Dog’

HARTFORD – Hartford Healthcare has gone to the dogs, actually the K-9 officers.

The Center for Education, Simulation and Innovation at Hartford Hospital (CESI), introduced “Axel” on Tuesday, a life sized sim-canine geared to help police officers tend to their K-9 partners if the need arises.

Steve Donahue, who is the director of operations at CESI said, “this is basically a “stop the bleed” course for the K-9 handlers so they can learn how to take care of their partners.”

Axel growls, whimpers, and barks via a remote control and officers train on the sim-dog just as doctors or nurses train on simulated medical mannequins.

Connecticut State Trooper First Class Matthew Warren, who is partnered with a gregarious seven-year-old German Shepard named Porter, said the new training is welcomed to our area.

“This is absolutely lifesaving,” Warren said, “it’s very life like, the sounds, the breathing, it’s unbelievable.”

There are only 31 dogs like Axel in use across the country, and until now, all of the sim-dogs have been used by the military. Hartford Hospital plans to invite police K-9 handlers from across the state and the country to come learn the advanced training that Axel can assist with.

Warren added that having more tools to save their pet partners is a huge plus.

“The amount of training we can learn from this will save their lives because all they do (the K-9 officers) is save other peoples lives so this is the least we can do.”

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